Refractive Error

Why You May Need Glasses

Refractive errors are the most common vision disorders and can be corrected easily by wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses or sometimes through refractive surgery. When a refractive error is present, light entering the eye is not focused, resulting in a blurry image. The four most common refractive errors are:

Myopia (nearsightedness)

A refractive error characterized by the ability to see objects that are nearby clearly, while objects further away appear blurry. the eyes are too strong and can only focus on objects that are close. The eyeglass prescription for this vision contains a minus sign (for example, -2.50) because the eye’s power needs to be lessened so you can see far away.

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It is important especially for nearsighted young people to have a comprehensive eye exam to avoid developing lazy eye which can occur when a person is nearsighted and does not wear corrective lenses.

Hyperopia (farsightedness)

Characterized by the inability to clearly see objects nearby without the help of corrective lenses. If farsighted, the eyes have to work overtime in order to focus. This can result in headaches, fatigue and long-term effects.

Astigmatism

A very common and correctable vision condition resulting in blurred vision at any distance, is often present in people who also have myopia or hyperopia. According to the American Optometric Association, astigmatism is due to either an irregular shaped cornea or the curvature of the eye’s lens which prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, resulting in blurred vision at any distance. Most people have some degree of astigmatism; although the presence of a slight degree of the condition usually does not affect vision and usually will not require treatment.

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However, a larger degree of astigmatism may need to be corrected because it can cause distorted or blurred vision, eye discomfort, and headaches.

Presbyopia

Affects nearly every adult as they age. As your eyes get older, their lenses gradually lose their ability to flex, making focusing on close objects difficult. It is a natural sign of aging and cannot be prevented, but it can be corrected through the use of reading glasses. Most people notice signs of it in their late forties and early fifties.

How Much Do You Know About Your Glasses?

Folded pair of glasses
Man and woman