Myopia, or shortsightedness, is not a disease, but an ocular optical shortcoming, if one considers that the goal is to see far off without spectacles nor contact lens. When one is shortsighted, one has a good close vision, but a blurred remote vision. Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is the opposite optical aberration of myopia, and is no more a disease ; as well as astigmatism, or even presbyopia.
A myopic eye is longer than the average, which is 23 millimeters : its axial length can be 24, 25, 26 mm, or more. The eyeball has a particular property, that is, it continues growing till one is 25 years old (in average, statistically) ; thus myopia stabilizes.
Myopia is not due to school work, nor bad lighting, nor computer and television addiction ; nothing can influence it, except genetic settings : if you become myopic, it is because you are foredoomed to that fate !
Therefore, ordinarily myopia appears during childhood, and causes a blurred vision of the blackboard, or later a discomfort when learning car driving. The first stage is to consult an ophtalmologist (medical doctor), afterwards to equip with spectacles, which are helpful only for remote vision : except for high myopia, its is preferable to take them off for close vision (reading, for example). Spectacles offer the advantage of efficient mechanical protection.
Wearing or not one's spectacles -or contact lenses- has no influence on the evolution of myopia, which anyhow, on principle, will increase till one is about 25 years old. Therefore, a follow-up of myopia is strictly unnecessary, since its evolution is variable and unpredictable : it is certainly useless and redundant to consult once a year, or every two or three years ... One should consult back simply in two circumstances : remote vision weakens, or spectacles become out of order (scratch glasses, or damaged frame).
About the age of 18 (sometimes before), one can think about contact lenses. Several solutions are suitable ; paradoxically, hard contact lenses suit better the eye physiology : they are the best alternative. In any case, contact lenses needs a obsessional cleanness ; and one must never sleep with them. Nowadays, the quality of contact lenses is excellent. This means of optical correction is ideal for shortsightedness : comparatively with spectacles, the retinal image is slightly larger, and the visual field is wider ; vision is almost perfect.
The technique for operating myopia is excellent if provided by an ophthalmologist medical doctor ; several technical choices are available ; failures are rare. This surgery is definitive. It is possible to cure by the same procedure a combined astigmatism. It's fee stays relatively expensive, for the cost of the laser device and its maintenance is very high : estimate roughly 1000 US $ for each eye (in France, 2007). Frequently it hurts during the following days. The maturity of these techniques is good, but nonetheless widely inferior to human lifetime ; if far vision is recovered, consistently, as everybody, one must be fitted with magnifying spectacles for reading, when becoming presbyopic about 45 years old.
If myopia is not a disease, the anatomical measurements that are responsible of it (the size of the eyeball) can lead to some illnesses. All goes as if retina was stretching and subsequently cracking : the retinal tears or holes are not malignant, but need to be treated by laser with a perfect technique, for preventing the terrific retinal detachment. This sickness is never treated by laser beam, but needs a specific and very tricky surgery, of which failure rate is not at all negligible. Besides, a myopic eye is more sensitive to chronic glaucoma than a "normal" eye.
Don't worry : the other ocular optical aberrations (hyperopia, astigmatism), have also their drawbacks, with some other specific medical diseases ; and chiefly, their everyday discomfort is franckly worse ! thus myopia -if not too strong- remains the most preferable among all the ocular optical imperfections.