When your eyes cannot properly focus light on your retina you have refractive error.

You see a blurred image.

The most common refractive errors are Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (longsightedness), Astigmatism and Presbyopia.

People who are myopic have blurred distance vision, and clear near vision.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition of the eye that refers to a person’s inability to see clearly at a distance.
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The myopic eye is longer than the non-myopic eye.
This means that instead of focusing on the retina at the back of the eye, light focuses in front of it, causing blurred vision.

Myopia can be corrected by spectacles or contact lenses.

Myopia usually begins in childhood at school age and can worsen until early adult years. In early adult onset Myopia, Myopia occurs in adults, aged 20 to 40, with no prior history of problems in childhood.

The causes of Myopia are both genetic and environmental. The prevalence of Myopia in Australian children whose parents both have Myopia is 30 to 40% and 20 to 25% in children who have one parent with Myopia. Less than 10% of children have Myopia when neither parent is myopic.

Increased urbanisation and close-range activities e.g. reading and computer work, are increasing the incidence of Myopia.

Myopia affects 1 in 5 people in Australia, 1 in 3 in America and 1 in 2 in some Asian countries.

There are currently 1.6 billion myopic people in the world – a quarter of the world’s population! This figure is rapidly growing!

By 2020, it is estimated that the number of people with myopia will grow to one third of the world’s population (2.5 billion).

Myopia doubles the risk of serious eye problems such as glaucoma or retinal detachment, which can cause permanent vision loss.