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What is short-sightedness (myopia)?

If you are short-sighted you have problems seeing things in the distance clearly without glasses or contact lenses, but can see things that are close to you. There are varying degrees of short-sightedness.

Who is affected by short-sightedness (myopia)?

Around a third of people in the UK are short-sighted. The condition usually starts during primary school years and tends to worsen until the eye has stopped growing. Myopia can also develop in very young children. Adults may also become short-sighted. You are more likely to become short-sighted if your parents are also short-sighted.

What are the symptoms of short-sightedness (myopia)?

Short-sightedness is usually due to the eye being slightly too long, which means that light focuses in front of the retina at the back of your eye, rather than focussing directly on it. Research carried out in Australia suggests that children who regularly spend time playing outside may reduce their risk of becoming short-sighted.

How do you treat short-sightedness (myopia)?

Short-sightedness is usually easy to correct with glasses and/or contact lenses. Some people opt for laser surgery. It may also be possible to have artificial lenses implanted in the eyes if laser surgery is not possible – for example: people with very severe short-sightedness.

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