Short-sightedness (Myopia)

What is short-sightedness?

A person with myopia or short-sightedness can see close objects clearly, but distant objects may be blurry^1^; like a road sign, blackboard, or a face across the room. It is a common condition or ‘refractive error’ of the eye, and is generally caused by irregularities in the length of the eye.

Refractive Error

To understand conditions such as myopia, it is important to understand how the eye normally sees. As light enters the eye, it will bend or ‘refract’ when it passes through the cornea and the crystalline lens. When an eye can see clearly at all distances, it means that light has been refracted to a sharp focus point on the retina^1^. (Fig.1)

When an eye is short-sighted or myopic, the light will focus at a point in front of the retina. (Fig.1)  This is due either to the eyeball being too long, or the cornea being too steep in curvature.


Studies show that myopia generally develops during school-going age, and the chances of inheriting it increases if one or both parents are myopic. There are many current studies on the causes of myopia which are looking at other possible factors such as gender, ethnicity and environment^1^.



1. National Eye Institute. Facts about Myopia. 2016 Available at: [] 


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