Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Short-sightedness, or myopia, is a refractive error of the eye that is easily corrected. It is one of the most common reasons for spectacles in the UK & worldwide. Book a consultation today & discover your treatment options.

450+ 5-Star Patient Reviews:

Myopia (Short-Sightedness) 1
Myopia (Short-Sightedness) 2

What is Myopia?

If your spectacle prescription begins with a minus number e.g. -1.50 you are myopic.

Myopia results when the length of the eyeball is longer than average or the curvature of the cornea is steeper than average resulting in the image being focussed in front of the retina. The image then becomes progressively defocussed toward the retina as the degree of myopia increases. Myopia usually presents during early life between 7 and 13 years of age with children struggling to see screens at distance. The age of onset of myopia has a trend toward younger age but can continue to develop into the 20’s. The prevalence of myopia is increasing across the globe and it is now estimated that around a quarter of adults in the UK are myopic and around 22% of the world’s population with the number continuing to rise. Myopia is associated with increased proximity of visual tasks but evidence suggests that spending time outdoors in childhood may be protective. In regions of the world where people spend a great deal of time reading and using devices at proximity e.g. Asia, the rates of myopia are very high. It is estimated that myopia will affect just over 50% of the world’s population by 2050.

  • When the eyeball is too long, the light rays are focused in front of the retina.
  • Distant objects appear blurry, those up close are clear.
  • Around a quarter of UK adults are short-sighted which tends to develop in the early teens
  • Myopia is associated with some medical conditions e.g. glaucoma and retinal detachment
Myopia (Short-Sightedness) 3
Myopia causes objects that are far away to appear blurred.

Associations with Myopia


Myopia is normally associated with the visual challenge of seeing well at distance but there are a number of other eye conditions that are associated with myopia. These include cataract, glaucoma, macular disease, retinal tears or breaks and retinal detachment. 

Correction of Myopia

Glasses and contact lenses provide the mainstay of myopia correction and are particularly useful in early life when myopia is still developing. Contact lenses provide much more visual freedom but care has to be taken to avoid the risk of infection particularly around water. 

This is a technique where rigid contact lenses are worn during sleep overnight to press on the cornea and flatten in reducing myopia. The contact lenses are then removed during the day. Orthokeratology is increasingly used in children as part of a myopia prevention strategy, again extra care must be taken to avoid infections and follow instructions carefully as overnight wear of contact lenses is associated with risks. 

LASIK, ReLEx SMILE® and ASA are all methods employed to correct myopia accurately and safely. LASIK is the most widely performed procedure with an estimated 40,000,000 procedures performed to date whilst ReLEx SMILE® is the fastest growing refractive procedure, think ‘Keyhole LASIK’. ASA or LASEK is similar to PRK and was the first excimer procedure to be performed to correct vision, visual outcomes are the same as the others but surface treatment have a slightly slower and less comfortable recovery. 

The ICL procedure employs a thin, biocompatible Collamer® lens to sit behind the iris (so that it is not visible), in front of the natural crystalline lens (so that accommodation is preserved) and can correct myopic errors from -0.50D to -18.00D but is typically reserved for higher corrections around -9.00D upwards. It is an effective alternative if the cornea is unable to support laser vision correction. 

Precise measurements are made of the eye when cataract or lens replacement surgery is planned. Correction of myopia and astigmatism will be factored into the calculation of intra-ocular lens power, whichever type of lens is selected. In some cases, people wish to remain myopic after surgery e.g. avid readers, so your medical consultation will include a thorough assessment to determine your visual aims. 

Correction of Myopia

Genes and the environment a play a role in the development of myopia but the genetic component is considered to be small. Children of myopic parents do have a higher chance of developing myopia. 

No, but myopia can be corrected using correcting lenses or by surgery. Some studies have shown that Ortho K can slow the progression of myopia in children. Spending time outdoors, in particular more than 2 hours per day has been shown to be beneficial although the mechanism of how this works is still being investigated. 

Environmental factors are thought to play a role in myopia development particularly intensive near work in downward gaze. There is wide variation in individual differences of behaviour and susceptibility to myopia so a variety of factors play a role. 

No, fully correcting myopia with spectacles or contact lenses is recommended to optimise vision and is not associated with worsening of myopia. Under-correction of myopia in children has been shown to increase progression and is not recommended. 

Excellent 5-Star Reviews

Excellent result extremely satisfied
Read More
I was extremely short sighted in my left eye minus 10.5 which with appropriate contact lens did still not give me good vision. I had several consultations with David Anderson as I was rather nervous of surgery due to a previous unfortunate experience with my right eye. David had not been involved with my right eye surgery. David was very reassuring and gave me confidence so I went ahead and had the surgery. Excellent result extremely satisfied. I would definitely recommend a consultation.
Life Changing Surgery
Read More
Yes cataract surgery is scary but David and his team were wonderful. David listened very carefully to what I wanted to achieve and patiently answered my detailed questions. He worked closely with my optician so that I could try contact lenses of different prescriptions to see which suited me best. In the end I had one eye adjusted for distance/normal vision and one eye for reading. My surgery was 2 months ago and everyone was kind and patient. It took time to get use to my new eyes but I now don't need glassed for the first time since I was 12 years old! I am completely use to my eyes now and don't notice that I have had anything done other than I don't wear glasses which is life changing! I would definitely recommend David and would like to say a BIG Thank You!
My optician referred me
Read More
I am absolutely delighted with the total lens replacement surgery I had at Anderson Eye Care. From my first consultation with Mr. Anderson, through to surgery and aftercare, my experience was of the highest professional quality. The procedure itself was painless quick and very relaxed. I unreservedly would recommend Mr. David Anderson and his team at Anderson Eye care. I now have 20/20 vision, which speaks for itself!
Extremely impressive
Read More
Extremely impressive professional experience from the initial consultation, to the surgery and post operative follow up. An absolute model in every respect for every health care professional to digest. The team atmosphere at Eastleigh Nuffield was brilliant from start to finish. Their team camaraderie is obvious and can’t be faked. My personal outcome is perfect. Many thanks to David and the Nuffield team.
Very pleased with cataract procedures
Read More
Mr Anderson has carried out cataract surgery on both of my eyes. I had my right eye done first. A year later, when it was time to have my left eye done, I only wanted Mr Anderson to carry out the procedure. On both occasions I discussed what I wanted the outcome to be, and Mr Anderson delivered exactly. The procedure was painless and quick. I am very pleased with the outcome. I found Mr Anderson and his staff very comfortable and reassuring to be around. I have no reservations in recommending Anderson Eye Care.
My optician referred me
Read More
My optician referred me urgently to the Eye Hospital but it was going to be a wait of several months to be seen so I came to David Anderson privately. The initial consultation was reassuring and without pressure and I decided to go ahead with cataract surgery. It worked well having the eyes done a week apart and was an easy experience. I had a worry after the second one and was seen quickly and reassured about it. All is well now.
I am now completely glasses free
Read More
I was referred to Mr Anderson by my optician. I found him to be extremely personable and professional and was immediately reassured by his calm manner. He recommended refractive lens exchange, in both eyes. I was a little apprehensive pre op, but all the staff were reassuring, and the op itself was painless, and over very quickly. (probably around 15 minutes) I could see the results almost immediately. 4 weeks on and after 55 years of spectacle wearing the results are amazing. From a prescription of +9.5 I am now completely glasses free even for reading. Thank you
Happy 20/20 Vision!!!!
Read More
I am absolutely delighted with the total lens replacement surgery I had at Anderson Eye Care. From my first consultation with Mr. Anderson, through to surgery and aftercare, my experience was of the highest professional quality. The procedure itself was painless quick and very relaxed. I unreservedly would recommend Mr. David Anderson and his team at Anderson Eye care. I now have 20/20 vision, which speaks for itself!

Download your Free Laser Infopack

Enter your details below to get instant access to your free laser eye surgery infopack.