Spanish Flag      Italian Flag     Flag UK US      French Flag     zhongwen
International Health Cover > Resources > Health and Safety Articles >  Myopia: a common problem

Short sightedness (or myopia) : a common vision problem


Understanding Myopia

Short sightedness, also called myopia, is a common vision problem in which patients can clearly see close objects, while distant objects are seen as blurry. The severity of myopia can range from minimal to extreme, depending on the distance at which the patient begins to see objects as blurry: the shorter this distance, the more severe the degree of myopia is.

 Short sightedness can result from an anatomic defect affecting either the eyeball, which appears to be longer than normal, or the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye), which is too steeply curved.

In both cases the images of distant objects are not focused on the retina (which functions somewhat like the film of a camera), but they are focused in front of the retina, making distant objects appear blurry. Although the anatomic eye defects that cause myopia have been well established, it is not clear why some people develop these defects.

Only some risk factors are known at present, including a family history of myopia, being born prematurely and doing a lot of close-up work such as reading, writing or sitting at a computer screen.  

Evolution of Myopia

Myopia typically develops and worsens during childhood or adolescence (the age periods in which it is most often detected) and then tends to stabilize in adulthood. This is the reason why children should be screened regularly for eye problems and particularly short sightedness.

In fact, although there is non known way to prevent myopia or slow down its progression, an early diagnosis and correction of the condition allows the affected child or adolescent to avoid certain complications resulting from blurred vision (such as reduced quality of life, excessive eyestrain, headaches and injuries).

 Persistent squinting, excessive blinking, unawareness of distant objects and holding books to close when reading or writing with the head very close to the table can be all signs of distant vision problems requiring attention from an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, which are trained eye experts who can diagnose and treat eye problems, as well as prescribe corrective lenses. 

Treatment* of Myopia

The treatment of short sightedness generally involves the use of corrective lenses (eyeglasses and/or contact lenses), that help focus objects on the retina by counterbalancing the anatomic defect of the myopic eye. However some patients prefer to treat their vision problem with surgical procedures intended to reshape the curvature of the cornea.

Of course, these surgical techniques are more expensive than the simple use of corrective lenses and, just as any other surgical procedure, have some degree of risk.

In any case, both the correction of myopia with eyeglasses or contact lenses (that have to be often changed) and its treatment by surgery are costly therapies for the patient. It is then advisable to have their cost covered by an appropriate health insurance plan.


International Health Cover is an International Health Insurance advisor. We provide full advice over a full range of International Medical Insurance plans. Our quotation and advice are free.

Please request a free quote. You may also contact one of our highly trained advisor.

*Always seek professional medical advise from a qualified doctor before undergoing any treatment.