Nearsightedness & Farsightedness

patient with nearsightedness

Nearsightedness & Farsightedness are two common conditions, which people sometimes confuse. Discover the difference as you keep reading.

What is Nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness is also known as myopia, and it's a condition in which your eyes generally have an easier time viewing things that are closeup than those that are far away (think road signs or other things at a distance). The problem of myopia occurs when light entering our eyes focuses in front of the retina instead of on it, as it should if the eye is functioning normally. Nearsightedness can occur if the eyeball is longer than normal.

Research suggests that myopia is becoming more common than it once was, perhaps due to use of computers and other electronic devices. You may be at a greater risk for myopia if your parents also have this condition. Symptoms may include headaches and strained eyes. Sports or driving may exacerbate these symptoms because you strain to see things happening further away. You also may find that squinting your eyes makes images in the distance clearer.

What is Farsightedness?

On the other hand, farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, is the opposite problem. People with this condition typically have an easier time seeing objects that are far away than those that are close, which makes reading difficult. An eyeball that is too short can be the cause of hyperopia.

Occasionally, children can experience farsightedness only to outgrow it because of changes that occur in the eye with age.Like myopia, hyperopia can lead to headaches and eye strain.

Farsighted symptoms can be caused by what optometrists call “presbyopia.” Presbyopia is a condition that develops due to age. If you’re over 40, and just starting to notice your eyes can’t focus on reading smaller text—especially in low light situations like a restaurant—you may suffer from presbyopia and not farsightedness.

Treatments for Nearsightedness and Farsightedness

Neither of these conditions has to decrease your quality of life. It's essential to seek treatment, however, because myopia can make it difficult to see clearly while driving and both conditions may reduce your ability to complete your job adequately and safely. 

Both nearsightedness and farsightedness improve by wearing glasses or the appropriate contact lenses. However, your doctor will prescribe you glasses specifically for the condition.  Someone who is nearsighted won't have improved vision with farsighted glasses, and the opposite is also true. 

Rather than prescribing glasses or contacts, your doctor might recommend refractive surgery. LASIK or PRK are two refractive surgery procedures that can correct vision erasing the need for vision correction.

Visit Our Local Optometrist to Schedule an Eye Exam Today

Call 864-585-0208 today to schedule an eye exam with Eye on Henry. Our optometrists can test for nearsightedness or farsightedness with the Snellen Test Chart, the familiar chart that lists letters in rows that decrease in size. If you haven't had a recent eye exam, our optometrists can update your eyeglass prescription to one that better treats your nearsightedness or farsightedness, reducing strain on your eyes.


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