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  • Writer's pictureKim Rasmussen

What is the difference between Myopia and Short-Sightedness?

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

When your eyes are being checked by an eye care professional, you might hear the words myopia or short-sightedness. But what is myopia, and is it the same as being short-sighted? The simple answer is yes.

In essence, being short-sighted means that whilst you can focus on objects which are close to you, those further away look blurry. That happens when the development of your eye results in light being focused in front of the retina rather than on the retina.

How far you can see before objects start to lose focus will determine your level of short-sightedness. For example, someone with relatively mild short-sightedness may be able to read a book held 40cm away from their eyes, whilst someone who has a greater degree of short-sightedness needs to hold the book closer to them to see it clearly.

For people with short sight, corrective lens prescriptions are shown as minus figures. In the first instance above, the prescription might be -2.5, whereas someone needing to hold a book just 10cm from their eyes to focus might require a prescription of -10. Short-sightedness can generally be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses. The earlier that short-sightedness is identified in children; the more can be done to slow its progression through a combination of appropriate ophthalmic prescriptions and potential lifestyle changes.

Where myopia is very high, particularly in older people who have been myopic for a long time, it can lead to a range of complications that can cause permanent damage to the eyes. Glasses may bring light into focus on the retina, but in these cases, the vision can be very bad due to the damage done to the eye. [1]

Apart from myopia, there is another term that you may hear and which might be a form of short-sightedness. That is astigmatism. This occurs when part of the front surface of the eye, the cornea, is more steeply curved along one axis and less steeply curved along the axis at 90 degrees. In other words, rather than the surface of the eye is shaped like a football, it is more like part of a rugby ball. This leads to a scattering of light inside the eye. Most people have astigmatism, and it is often part of a myopic prescription, where the eye is more myopic in one meridian than the meridian at 90 degrees to it. Therefore, your spectacle prescription has a Sphere, Cylinder and Axis.

Occuity is in the research and development phase of the AX1. This device will be the world's first handheld, optical, non-contact meter, capable of directly measuring axial length quickly, easily and safely. With axial length being well established as the critical measurement in studies looking at the progression and control of myopia. Discover The Occuity AX1 here.

*The AX1 is currently in development and is planned for release in 2024.

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