Short Sightedness | Myopia

Difficulty seeing things at distance.

What is short-sightedness, and can it be fixed?

In the normal eye, the cornea focuses light rays directly on the retina, resulting in clear vision without glasses or contact lenses.

In myopia, or short-sightedness, the eye is longer than normal. In some cases, the cornea may be more curved than normal.

The light rays go through the cornea but come together at a point in front of the retina, and are out of focus on the retina.

Short-sightedness symptoms

In short-sightedness, distant objects are blurred, while nearby objects can be clear.

Short-sightedness causes

You might be surprised that genetics is not the only factor in short-sightedness. Environmental factors also play a role. For example, short-sightedness almost doesn’t exist among members of traditional societies. As soon as you send children to school, however, about 40% of them develop this refractive error. It appears that there might be cells in the retina that respond to environmental demands of modern societies.

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What is the best treatment for short-sightedness?

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Short-sightedness treatments

We use laser eye surgery (LASIK and ReLEx SMILE ™) to change the shape and curve of the cornea to correct or reduce these types of refractive errors. For patients in whom the cornea is not suitable for LASIK or SMILE ™ we can offer phakic IOL implantation. We can also use phakic IOLs to treat very high levels of short-sightedness.

SMILE ™ has been proven to be safe and effective for short-sightedness up to -10 dioptres. Dioptres are the units of focus in which your spectacle prescription is measured and documented. The spectacle prescription of the eye is 1 divided by the resting focal length of the eye measured in metres. So if the resting focal length of the eye is 50 centimetres (0.5metres) then the prescription of the eye is -2. Short sighted prescriptions have a minus sign at the beginning and long-sighted prescriptions have a plus sign.

SMILE ™ is the subject of research into treating higher prescriptions than -10. Phakic IOLs can comfortably treat up to -18 dioptres of short-sightedness. We have successfully treated patients with even higher prescriptions by combining phakic IOL implantation with LASIK laser surgery three months after the lens implantation.

Results at a glance

Laser procedures
Cataract procedures
Better than the national average of complication rates

My eyesight following the operation is brilliant and better than I thought possible, and this is all down to your excellent surgeon Mr James Ball and not to forget all the very dedicated people around him who make these operations possible.

Keith Garlick

Two of the best decisions I ever made in my life were firstly to have lens exchange and secondly to have Mr James Ball carry out my operation.

Patricia Walton

Within minutes I could tell there was a difference. But now, only a couple of months later, my sight is better than it was seven years ago! I can even read the really tiny print on the car sales ads! If you want that confidence you probably felt when you were younger, this is the ideal solution. Thanks to the treatment, I feel rejuvenated, independent and much younger!

John Hazelgreave

Many thanks for all your care and kindness. To me it appears a miracle that I can see so well. I feel very grateful. It is impossible to fully express my thanks.

Grace C.

May I offer grateful thanks for your expertise in operating on my eyes. It was intimated to me that you were the best, and from the results I am now enjoying, I am convinced that this is correct.

Jean D.

You are truly innovative. Thank you very much for curing the problems I have been having with my reading and near vision.

Sala M.

My work was becoming almost impossible. I had refractive lens exchange to both eyes with multifocal lens implants last July. I can now see better than 20/20 for distance and can read the tiniest print in newspapers - all without glasses! I have started reading for pleasure again, and I feel that my performance both at work and on the golf course has improved.


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I felt I was treated as an individual and all my questions were answered. From my experiences – I can highly recommend Mr Ball.

Janet Howden

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About our surgeons

Mr James Ball | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic. My major interest is in refractive surgery and finding the best treatment suitable for each patient.

Mr Jack Gormley | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB ChB (Hons) FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic and York Teaching Hospital, where I lead the Corneal and Refractive service. I have completed over 2,000 surgical and laser eye procedures.