What is Nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a refractive error where nearby objects appear clear but distant objects are blurry. Myopia occurs due to an elongated eyeball (front to back) or an overly curved cornea.
The cornea is the clear front part of the eye. If the cornea is too curved, the light entering the eye will not focus correctly on the retina (the light-sensitive part of the eye).
Nearsightedness is categorized into three different levels:
- Low myopia. -3.00 diopters or less.
- Moderate myopia. Between -3.25 to -6.00 diopters.
- Severe myopia. Above -6.00 diopters.
Prevalence and Causes
Myopia is common in East and South East Asia, affecting about 80 to 90% of the population.1 In the U.S., the condition affects about 30% of the population.
Although the prevalence varies from country to country, recent research estimates that more than half the world’s population will have the condition by 2050.2
The exact cause of nearsightedness is unknown, but scientists associate the condition with the following:
- Lifestyle (e.g., digital eye strain from using a computer or phone screen)3
- Health issues, such as diabetes and cataracts
Wearing glasses or contacts is the most common form of myopia management. These are concave-shaped corrective lenses, also known as “minus power lenses” (or “minus lenses”).
Concave means thin at the center and thicker at the edges. This shape counteracts the increased curve of your cornea or the increased length of the eyeball. It enables the lens to produce an image closer to the eye when looking at a distant object.
However, some people prefer corrective surgery to restore their visual clarity.
What are the Best Glasses for Nearsightedness?
Correcting nearsightedness requires diverging lenses (concave lenses), which compensate for the overconvergence of the eyeball.
There are many diverging lens options for myopia management:
- Multifocal lenses. Current research shows that multifocal lenses (bifocals, trifocals, or progressives) can improve distance vision and slow myopia progression in children.4
- Single vision lenses. Recommended for those who want clear distance vision when doing certain activities, such as watching TV or driving at night.
- High-index lenses. These have reduced thickness and weight, making them more appealing and comfortable. They’re recommended for correcting nearsightedness greater than -3.00 diopters.
- Blue light filter lenses. These claim prevent the harmful blue light from computer screens from causing myopia, though there isn’t strong scientific evidence to support this. They also improve sleep, which blue light exposure often affects.
Multifocal lenses focus peripheral light in front of the retina, which enhances distance vision while preventing undesired eye growth. By comparison, a single-vision lens encourages the eyeball to keep growing in children since it focuses peripheral light on a point behind the retina.5
The best glasses for nearsightedness should also have an anti-reflective (AR) coating. According to Warby Parker, one of the largest eyewear retailers in the US, the coating prevents distracting reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses, thus improving visual acuity and comfort.6
What are the Best Contacts for Nearsightedness?
Eyeglasses are usually the first line of myopia correction because they’re more tolerated than contacts. Still, contact lenses remain effective in correcting myopia.
The following are the best contact lens options for myopia:
- Diverging contact lenses. They also enable clear eyesight, just like eyeglasses, but they don’t limit peripheral vision like glasses.7
- Corrective contact lenses. They're rigid and are used to reshape (flatten) the bulging cornea to enhance the eye’s ability to refract light rays. The process is known as Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT).
- Multifocal contact lenses. Just like multifocal lenses for glasses, they can slow down the natural elongation of the eyeball and myopia (by 25%) in kids.8 Research shows soft multifocal contact lenses are the best for myopia.
- Transition contact lenses. They change color based on the lighting conditions (sunglass effect).
Whether you prefer glasses or contact lenses for your distorted vision, getting the correct lens prescription is essential. Get a regular eye checkup to ensure your myopia is not undercorrected. Some symptoms of undercorrection include frequent headaches, vertigo, and blurry vision.
Signs You Need Glasses for Nearsightedness
You may have nearsightedness if you experience the following symptoms:
- Headaches due to eye strain
- Fatigued or painful eyes
- Reduced visual acuity at night
- Constant squinting to see distant objects clearly
- Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
Not all myopic people experience these signs the same way. Some types of myopia can affect both your near and distant vision.
Where to Buy Glasses and Contacts for Nearsightedness
If you have nearsightedness, you can source your glasses or contacts from local retailers, online eyewear sellers, or your optician’s office. Online retailers are convenient if you already have a prescription and need to order custom lenses.
However, some major online retailers have prescription scanner apps and Virtual Try-Ons. With these tools, you can generate your prescription details and order from the comfort of your home. You only need a computer, a smartphone, and somewhere to write.
You can purchase your eyewear from the following retailers. These sellers also accept most major insurance:
1. Warby Parker
One of the major online and in-store retailers offering good deals on quality eyeglasses and contact lenses. Warby Parker offers additions such as blue-light-filtering, anti-fatigue, or progressive lenses.
The company also sells daily, biweekly, and monthly contact lenses including:
- Air Optix
- Bausch + Lomb
A distinguishing feature of Warby Parker is its 5-day try-on. You can order your favorite frames online and try them out for 5 days. There is also a Warby Parker app for iOS that offers an immersive online shopping experience.
You can get stylish eyeglasses and contacts for women, men, and kids from GlassesUSA.com.
The categories of contacts for nearsightedness include:
GlassesUSA.com has a virtual try-on feature to help clients try out its custom frames in real time from anywhere. The company sells products from brands such as Ray-Ban and Michael Kors.
GlassesUSA also offers free shipping and a 100% money-back guarantee on all returns made within 14 days.
FramesDirect.com is a global eyewear retailer with authentic eyeglasses and contacts for nearsightedness. Like GlassessUSA.com, FramesDirect.com is known for its designer and name-brand eyeglass frames.
Its contact lens categories include:
- Air Optix
You can choose from high-index lenses, progressive lenses, and transitions with a scratch-resistant coating to make your eyeglasses work better for you. Transition lenses darken or brighten based on lighting conditions.
Walmart customers can purchase their prescription glasses and contacts in-store or online. The company works with brands like Ray-Ban, Nautica, Oakley, and DVX.
Walmart sells single-vision and multifocal contact lenses from brands like:
- Air Optix
Walmart offers free standard shipping for prescription eyeglasses and contacts with a delivery timeline of 5 to 7 days, depending on the prescription verification process.
It sells contact lens brands, including the following:
LensCrafters offers a one-year extended warranty for its eyewear products. The company also offers free shipping and aftercare (cleaning and adjustments).
The list above is just a small representation of the country’s many online and in-store eyewear retailers.
If you’re looking for prescription distance glasses or contact lenses, you’ll need a comprehensive eye exam at your doctor’s office or eyewear location to avoid under-correction.
Can LASIK Correct Nearsightedness?
Research shows that laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis or LASIK can safely correct mild to moderate nearsightedness.9
The surgery targets the corneal structure and modifies it to enable light to focus well on the retina. LASIK benefits adults (21 years and over) wanting to get rid of glasses or contacts.
The LASIK procedure involves the following:
- Eye exam to determine your eye health
- Preparation of the eye for surgery (mapping and sedation)
- Creation of a corneal flap to expose the underlying tissue
- Laser treatment to alter the curvature of the cornea
- Replacement of the flap to allow for healing
People with mild to moderate nearsightedness tend to achieve better results after LASIK than those with severe nearsightedness.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, surgical correction of high myopia poses a risk of post-LASIK ectasia and decreased quality of vision.10
- Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a refractive error where nearby objects appear clear but distant objects are blurry.
- Myopia affects 30% of people in the United States, and predictions indicate a 50% and above global prevalence by 2050.
- The exact cause of nearsightedness is unknown, but scientists associate the condition with aging, genetics, lifestyle, and health problems.
- The best remedies for nearsightedness are eyeglasses and contact lenses. However, some people prefer refractive surgery.
- The best glasses and contacts for nearsightedness are multifocal lenses, which can be obtained from online and in-store eyewear retailers.
In this article
Best Places to Buy Glasses
Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.
Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.
Best on a Budget
EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.
Best Places to Buy Contacts
1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.
GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.