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Three Most Common Vision Problems

Most people who start needing glasses or contacts have at least one of the most common vision problems: myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism.

These are all refractive errors, which means they’re problems with the way the eyes focus light, rather than an eye disease. Refractive errors have to do with the physical shape of our eyes, so let’s take a closer look!

Myopia: What’s right in front of you

Myopia is the technical term for nearsightedness, meaning that you can see clearly up close but distant objects are blurred. This happens when the eyeball itself is too long, or else when the cornea (the clear front part of the eye) is too curved. That additional curvature or length causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it, which makes the resulting images look fuzzy.

The way glasses or contacts correct myopia is by compensating for this error to extend the light’s focus onto the retina where it belongs. These lenses are concave (thinner in the middle), and always have a negative prescription.

Hyperopia: Gazing into the distance 

Hyperopia, better known as farsightedness, means that you can see distant objects clearly, but everything up close is blurry. Hyperopia happens for the opposite reasons that myopia does. Instead of being too long, the eyeball is too short, or else the cornea is too flat. This causes light to focus behind the retina, making near images fuzzy.

In order to correct hyperopia, corrective lenses must be convex (thicker in the middle) and have a positive prescription. The larger the number, the stronger the prescription.

Astigmatism: A warped perspective

The third common refractive error people experience is astigmatism, and it’s a little different from the other two. A normal cornea is uniformly curved so that there is a single focal point. A cornea with astigmatism is more football shaped, creating multiple focal points, which makes things appear blurry at any distance and bends their images.

Astigmatism is often paired with one of the other refractive errors, and it requires more complex lenses to correct than they do. Typically, the lens will be somewhat cylindrical rather than spherical.

Keep your prescription up to date and your eyes in good health

All three types of refractive error can change and worsen over time, which is why most people who need corrective lenses don’t keep the same prescription forever. It’s important to have a comprehensive eye exam every year to keep your eyes in good health and your vision clear. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today if it’s been a while since your last eye exam or if you’re noticing blurry vision. During a comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Vadim Guy will not only determine your prescription, but he will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team, and evaluate your eyes for your overall health.

Thank you for always putting your trust in us!

Top image by Flickr user Yutaka Seki used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.