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Myopia Testing (Nearsightedness)

Eye doctors diagnose myopia, or nearsightedness, with several procedures to measure the light focus of the eyes. The tests also help determine the power of any prescription lenses you may need to correct your poor vision.

woman holding glasses eye testing

Myopia is a visual impairment that makes objects at a distance appear blurred. Early detection is crucial to restoring clear vision.

One of the most common tests is a refraction assessment, in which your doctor uses various instruments and asks you to look through several lenses. The aim is to test your close-up and distance vision.

Symptoms that could necessitate myopia testing include eye strain, squinting and faraway objects appearing fuzzy or blurry while close it appears clear. 

You may also notice that children with myopia have a shortened attention span, poor grades and the holding of objects close to the face. We will explore ways that the testing is done and what can be done to correct the problem.

How to Test for Myopia in Adults and Children

Your eye-care provider can diagnose myopia through a handful of standard eye exams. While healthcare providers commonly see the condition in children, it can occur in adulthood due to diabetes or visual stress.

Myopia in Adults

Your eye provider will start by testing your visual acuity by asking you to read letters on a chart. Using a lighted retinoscope, they will measure how your retina reflects light.

Next, your provider will use a phoropter to measure the amount of refractive error by placing several lenses in front of your eyes one by one. This helps measure the strength of the lenses you need to correct the condition.

Your doctor will likely put drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils allowing for an in-depth analysis of your eye health. Your eyes may be sensitive to light for a few hours after the test.

Myopia in Children

The pediatrician will check the health of your child’s eyes at each visit. The first eye check should be before one year, if possible.

During the exam, the provider will conduct a physical examination of the eyes and check for a normal light reflex. The provider will conduct visual screening using pictures, chart tests, the “tumbling E game,” and letters.

Because your child’s vision changes as they grow, it’s essential to get regular vision screenings at least every two years after the first eye test.

How Often Should You Get Your Eyes Checked?

According to the American Optometric Association, regular eye tests will help catch vision problems early enough when they are still easy to control. The table below shows the recommended visits for eye check-ups.

Age GroupRecommended Eye Check-Up
Birth to 2 yearsBetween 6 and 9 months old
2 to 5 yearsAt least one eye check-up between 2 and 5 years old
6 to 19 yearsAnnually
20 to 39 yearsOnce in every 2 to 3 years
40 to 64 yearsOnce bi-annually
65 years and aboveAnnually

What Happens After Diagnosis

If your doctor diagnoses myopia, they’ll recommend one of the many available treatment options. Treatments include:

  • Eyeglasses: They are the primary correction option for most people with myopia. Depending on the severity, you may only need to wear glasses for specific activities like driving, reading, or watching a movie. In cases where nearsightedness is severe, you may need to wear the glasses at all times.
  • Contact lenses: These provide a clearer vision and a broader field of view than eyeglasses. However, they require proper valuation and care because they come into direct contact with the eyes.
  • Laser procedures: LASIK, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, and PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, are possible treatment approaches in adults. A provider uses a laser beam to reshape the cornea by removing some corneal tissue to correct eyesight.
  • Ortho-k or CRT: This entails wearing a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses. Their purpose is to reshape the cornea’s curvature by placing pressure to flatten it, changing how light entering the eye is focused.
  • Vision therapy: This is an option for people whose blurred vision happens because of a spasm of the muscles that control the eye’s focusing. It entails various eye exercises to improve focusing ability.

FAQs

How is nearsightedness diagnosed?

An eye-care provider diagnoses myopia through standard eye exams to check vision and eye health. They will look at the eyes and conduct several tests using special instruments, equipment, and lights. These will help determine if you need contact lenses or glasses to correct the condition.

Do I have to get a myopia test?

You may need to get a myopia test if you have symptoms such as blurry vision of faraway objects yet near objects appear clear. Other symptoms include eye strain, headaches, squinting, and eye tiredness after looking a short distance away.

How do I know my myopia number?

If you have myopia, your prescription for glasses or contact lenses is negative, usually between -0.5 and -3D, indicating mild nearsightedness. The higher the number, the stronger the lenses will be, with a score of more than -6D indicating severe or high myopia. Your eye care provider will let you know your prescription type after testing.

References

  1. Nearsightedness. (April 2020). Mayo Clinic.

  2. Myopia Causes & Diagnosis. (March 2021). News Medical.

  3. What happens during a refractive eye exam? (November 2021). All About Vision.

  4. Recognizing Myopia & Common Vision Problems in Children. (November 2017). UPMC Health Beat.

  5. How to detect myopia in the eye clinic. (2019). National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  6. Myopia. (July 2020). Cleveland Clinic.

  7. How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam? (October 2020). Atlantic Eye Institute.

  8. Myopia (Nearsightedness). American Optometric Association.

  9. Myopia and pathological myopia. (2022). Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Last Updated February 26, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.