Nearsightedness symptoms may include:

  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • The need to squint or partially close the eyelids to see clearly
  • Headaches caused by excessive eyestrain
  • Difficulty seeing while driving a vehicle, especially at night (night myopia)

Nearsightedness is often first detected during childhood and is commonly diagnosed between the early school years through the teens. A child with nearsightedness may:

  • Persistently squint
  • Need to sit closer to the television, movie screen or the front of the classroom
  • Hold books very close while reading
  • Seem to be unaware of distant objects
  • Blink excessively
  • Rub his or her eyes frequently

When to see a doctor

If your difficulty clearly seeing things that are far away is pronounced enough that you can't perform a task as well as you wish, or if the quality of your vision detracts from your enjoyment of activities, see an eye doctor. He or she can determine the degree of your nearsightedness and advise you of your options to correct your vision.

Since it may not always be readily apparent that you're having trouble with your vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following intervals for regular eye exams:

Adults

If you're at high risk of certain eye diseases, such as glaucoma, get an eye exam every two to four years up to age 40, then every one to three years between 40 and 54, and finally every one to two years at age 55 and older.

If you don't wear glasses or contacts, have no symptoms of eye trouble, and are at a low risk of developing eye diseases, such as glaucoma, it's recommended that you have an eye exam at the following intervals.

  • An initial exam at 40
  • Between ages 40 and 54 — every two to four years
  • Between ages 55 and 64 — every one to three years
  • Age 65 and older — every one to two years

If you wear glasses or contacts, you'll likely need to have your eyes checked regularly. Ask your eye doctor how frequently you need to schedule your appointments. But, if you notice any problems with your vision, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible, even if you've recently had an eye exam. Blurred vision, for example, may suggest you need a prescription change, or it could be a sign of another problem.

Children and adolescents

Children need to be screened for eye disease and have their vision tested by a pediatrician, an ophthalmologist or another trained screener at the following ages and intervals.

  • During the newborn period
  • At well-child visits until school age
  • During school years, every one to two years at well-child visits, or through school or public screenings
Mar. 03, 2012