Nearsightedness – otherwise known as myopia – is characterized by a severe curvature in the cornea or an elongated eye. Consequently, light focuses in front of the retina rather than onto the retina directly, ultimately causing distance vision to blur. This common refractive error typically begins to develop during the teenaged years, and while the condition is normally progressive, the vision can stabilize during adulthood. Symptoms of myopia often include difficulty seeing movie screens, televisions, projection screens, or school boards.
Farsightedness – otherwise known as hyperopia– is characterized by a cornea that is too flat or a shortened eye. Consequently, light focuses beyond the retina rather than onto the retina directly, ultimately causing near vision to blur. In some cases, blurry distance vision may also result. This common refractive error is not typically diagnosed during vision tests at schools since a full eye exam is required to detect the condition.
Presbyopia is characterized by an inability of the eye to focus on objects very near or very far. In addition, presbyopia can prevent the eye from easily shifting focus from near to far and vice versa. This common condition – which results from a stiffening of the eyes’ lenses – often develops gradually with age, and men and women in their 40s and beyond are at a greater risk for developing presbyopia. Symptoms of presbyopia can also include frequent headaches when trying to focus for long periods of time at books or computer screens as well as eyes that become easily fatigued.
Astigmatism is characterized by a cornea with an imbalanced curve, and is often diagnosed along with nearsightedness or farsightedness. As a consequence of the imbalanced curve, light focuses on multiple points of the retina rather than a single point, causing overall vision to distort, blur, or double. In addition, patients with astigmatism may have difficulty easily shifting the focus of the eyes from near to far and vice versa.
To accurately detect and diagnose nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, or astigmatism, children, teens, and adults should have routine eye exams scheduled once a year. In most cases, prescription eyewear such as glasses or contact lenses can effectively restore vision. Patients with presbyopia can benefit from bifocals to improve both near and distance vision. Depending upon factors such as the stability of the vision prescription, LASIK surgery may also be an option for clear eyesight without the need for corrective eyewear. For patients who are not ideal candidates for LASIK, our doctors can help you to select an appropriate alternative.
For more information about common eye conditions and refractive errors, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our doctors, please contact our office today.