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Nearsightedness (myopia) is one of the most common refractive error eye conditions in the world. With nearsightedness, people have difficulty seeing objects in the distance clearly. (Learn More)
Due to how common myopia is, there are many well-developed glasses and lens options for correcting nearsightedness. Single-prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses are the most common way to correct for myopia, though new research suggests multifocal lenses are very effective at slowing the progression of the condition. (Learn More)
Prescription lenses can be purchased from a wide selection of online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Hundreds of glasses and lens options for nearsightedness are accessible and affordable. They can even be delivered right to your doorstep. (Learn More)
If this is your first time getting prescription glasses, a comprehensive eye exam is the best place to start. An eye care professional will review your health history, assess your current eye health, and provide accurate glasses and contact lenses prescriptions, if needed. (Learn More) With a vision prescription in hand, you can visit any eyewear retailer, online or in person, to find the perfect pair of glasses for you.
If you have any level of vision loss or impairment, you should be offered corrective eyewear. If you are unsure of how bad your vision is, visit an eye care professional for an eye exam. They can determine what type of corrective eyewear will be the most beneficial for you. (Learn More)
What Is Nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a common eye condition in which people cannot see items clearly that are far away. Close objects, however, still appear clearly.
For someone who is nearsighted, light does not focus properly on the retina. When the eyeball becomes elongated, over time, nearsightedness can often occur.
According to 2010 data presented by the National Eye Institute (NEI), nearly 24 percent of adults over the age of 40 in the United States experience myopia. Slightly more women (24.63 percent) than men (23.12 percent) develop nearsightedness. NEI estimates that by 2030, over 39 million people in the U.S. will have myopia, and over 44 million people will have the condition by 2050.
Currently, over 40 percent of people in the U.S. have myopia, explains the My Myopia awareness campaign. The campaign expects that over 50 percent of children and adults will have some degree of nearsightedness by 2050. Because of this “myopia epidemic,” it is important for individuals, parents, and eye care professionals to be aware of the best options for myopia management.
The Best Glasses & Lenses for Nearsightedness
The traditional and most common way to correct for nearsightedness is by wearing prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Glasses and contact lenses change the way light is focused on the retina, so objects far away can be seen clearly once again.
Recent studies have found that multifocal contact lenses can slow the progression of myopia, particularly in children. According to a 2014 double-blind study, children with myopia who wore multifocal lenses had 25 percent less progression of their nearsightedness and 31 percent less elongation of the eyeball over a two-year period than kids who only wore single-vision lenses during the same timeframe.
The lenses found to be effective for treating myopia are soft multifocal contact lenses that have a center distance design. Researchers think these lenses work well because they focus light both in front of the peripheral retina and right on the retina. Children in the studies who wore these lenses for five to eight hours per day experienced significant slowing of the progression of their nearsightedness.
Additional glasses and lenses options for nearsightedness include:
- Single-vision prescription glasses to be worn during certain activities or at all times.
- Regular contact lenses that often provide clearer vision and wider peripheral vision than glasses can.
- Corneal refractive therapy (CRT), where a series of rigid contact lenses are worn for certain periods of time, such as overnight, to gradually reshape the cornea and flatten it. This temporarily gives you clear vision again throughout most of your day.
The key to correcting nearsightedness is to use a diverging lens. With nearsightedness, light focuses in front of the retina. A diverging lens helps to separate light before it reaches the cornea so that it can then converge back on the retina, and items can be seen more clearly again.
The good news about myopia is that there are many vision correction options available to you. If you are not interested in or do not qualify for laser eye surgery to correct your myopia, there are many glasses and lenses options available to help you achieve clear vision for all of your daily activities.
Where to Buy Lenses for Nearsightedness
If you are looking for lenses for nearsightedness, you can find affordable deals from local retailers and a wide range of eyewear sellers online. If you already have a vision prescription and don’t need to try on new frames, online retailers make it quick and easy for you to order custom lenses.
- Goggles4U: An “eyewear super store,” Goggles4U offers prescription glasses for as little as $7.
- Amazon: A wide range of prescription glasses for distance vision are sold through Amazon.
- For Eyes: Glasses and contact lenses can be purchased online or in stores located across the country. You can also schedule an eye exam through For Eyes.
- Walmart: Equipped with in-store and online vision centers, prescription glasses and contact lenses can be ordered through Walmart.
- Walgreens: Hundreds of affordable glasses and contact lenses options for nearsightedness are available in store and online.
- Finest Glasses: Specialty and discount glasses can be ordered from Finestglasses.com for adults and children.
- LensCrafters: An eyewear specialist, LensCrafters sells prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses that be ordered online or in stores across the U.S. Eye exams are also available through Lens Crafters.
The above retailers are just a sample of the many companies that offer lenses for nearsightedness. There are hundreds of online and in-store retailers located throughout the country that offer prescription lenses.
How to Get Prescription Glasses
If you are on the hunt for a pair of prescription glasses, the best place to start is with a comprehensive eye exam. Eye exams can take place at your eye doctor. You can also get them at eyewear centers and retailers that offer on-site eye exams to determine your vision prescription.
Standard tests that may be included in a comprehensive eye exam include:
- Visual acuity test (eye charts).
- Color blind test.
- Cover test.
- Ocular motility.
- Eye muscle function.
- Depth perception.
- Autorefractor or aberrometer.
- Slit lamp.
- Glaucoma test.
- Peripheral vision.
- Pupil dilation.
- Visual field.
It is important to note that eyeglass prescriptions and contact lens prescriptions are not the same. Because glasses and contact lenses affect the eye differently, you likely need different prescription strengths for the two types of lenses. If you would like contact lenses, be sure to make that clear to the eye care professional who is conducting your eye exam.
Once you know your glasses or contact lenses prescription, you can take it to any eyewear retailer to get filled. If you have insurance that covers the cost of glasses or contact lenses, check first that it is accepted by the specific retailer.
What Warrants a Need for Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses?
Experts from the American Optometric Association (AOA) explain that anyone with any level of nearsightedness should be offered myopia control. Multifocal lenses can help the condition from getting worse, but anyone struggling with achieving clear vision should seek corrective eyewear of some type.
Common symptoms that may indicate a need for glasses or contact lenses include:
- Blurry vision.
- Double vision.
- Objects appearing hazy or fuzzy.
- Squinting often.
- Eye strain.
- Seeing auras or halos around objects in bright light.
- Distorted vision.
- Poor night driving vision.
According to AOA, more than 150 million people in the U.S. wear some form of corrective eyewear. About 37 million people wear contact lenses. If you think you may benefit from corrective lenses, you are not alone.
If you have questions about your eye health, start by speaking with an eye care provider today.
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Eye Health Statistics. (2015). American Optometric Association.
Eye Exam and Vision Testing Basics. (December 2018). American Optometric Association.
Multifocal Contact Lens Effective at Treating Myopia in Kids. (April 2016). American Optometric Association.
Myopia (Nearsightedness). American Optometric Association.
Nearsightedness and Its Correction. The Physics Classroom.
Nearsightedness, Farsightedness and Astigmatism. Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Nearsightedness (Myopia)Tables. (July 2019). National Eye Institute.
Refractive Errors. (July 2019). National Eye Institute.