Refractive error is a term given to optical conditions that may require correction with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. When light that enters the eye does not land directly on the light-receiving tissue on the back of the eye (the retina), the image will appear blurry and out of focus. Whether the light focuses in front of the retina or behind the retina is what determines the type of refractive error that is present. Vision correction like glasses or contact lenses help change the way light enters the eye so images focus on the back of the eye, creating a clear image that is easy to see. Continue reading to learn more about the different forms of refractive error.
Nearsightedness and Glasses
Myopia, more commonly referred to as nearsightedness, occurs when light that enters the eye focuses in front of the retina. In nearsightedness, images that are far away appear blurred, which objects that are close can usually still be easily seen. This typically occurs when the eye is too long, or the front of the eye is too curved and causes light to bend and focus too quickly. Most cases of myopia are a combination of both causes. Glasses and contact lenses work to correct myopia by altering light and pushing the image that is formed backwards so it falls on the retina. Refractive surgeries, such as LASIK, may also be effective in treating some cases of nearsightedness. Because myopia can be associated with larger and longer eyes, it can carry some ocular health risks. A stretched out eye can put one at an increased risk for retinal damage or even a retinal detachment. Those who have high amounts of myopia should regularly have the health of their eyes evaluated.
Farsightedness (Hyperopia) and Glasses
Farsightedness is also called hyperopia. This optical condition occurs when light forms an image behind the retina. It causes objects in the distance to appear clear, while those up close may be difficult to see or out-of-focus. In some cases, the eye’s focusing system works to temporarily hide the symptoms of hyperopia. But this is not sustainable, and problems like eye strain and headaches will eventually arise. Glasses and contact lenses can help alter the optics of the eye and prevent all symptoms associated with hyperopia while creating a clear image. Unlike nearsightedness, surgery is a less common and less effective option for correcting farsightedness.
Astigmatism and Glasses
Astigmatism occurs when the front of the eye causes light to bend in different ways when it enters at different points across the eye’s surface. This means that images that are supposed to appear as a single point may appear more like a distorted line. Those who have uncorrected astigmatism may notice blurriness or distortion in objects close up or far away. While astigmatism has a lot of negative misconceptions around it, this form of refractive error is usually just as easy to correct as nearsightedness or farsightedness. Astigmatism is quite common; in fact, almost all people have some degree of astigmatism.
All forms of refractive error can be identified, evaluated, and treated during an eye examination. If you believe you or a family member has an undiagnosed form of refractive error, schedule an eye exam today.
At EyeDocs Family Eye Care, you will recieve only the highest quality eye exam with our eye doctor in Brookville, Ohio. Call us at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online with Dr.Kyle Maxam or Dr. Kara Wampler for your next eye exam with a Brookville eye doctor. The next time you are in need of glasses or contact lenses, be sure to come to EyeDocs where we always put the care of you and your family first with our eye care services in the Brookville, OH 45309 area.
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