Your vision allows you to perceive and understand your surroundings, perform daily tasks, learn, and drive. Caring for your eyes can help prevent vision problems later.
Not all vision problems present with symptoms, but when you have difficulty seeing at varying distances, you may have a refractive error. When you’re nearsighted distant objects appear blurry, and when you’re farsighted close-up objects appear blurry.
What Is Nearsightedness?
Causes of Nearsightedness
Eye shape prevents light from focusing on the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye). In nearsightedness, a too long-eye or too-curved cornea causes light to focus in front of the retina, not on it.
Symptoms of Nearsightedness
The symptoms of nearsightedness can include:
- Blurry vision
- Squinting or partially closing the eyelids to see clearly
Children who are nearsighted may not always be aware they have vision problems but can experience the following symptoms:
- Persistent squinting
- Unaware of distant objects
- Excessive blinking
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Sit close to the television or whiteboard
Nearsighted adults may have difficulty reading signs or blurry vision in dim lighting, such as nighttime driving.
Risks Factors for Developing Nearsightedness
- Genetics: Your risk of nearsightedness is high if one parent has the condition and higher if both parents are nearsighted.
- Close-up activities: Prolonged close-up activities, like reading or work, can increase your risk of nearsightedness.
- Screen time: Long periods in front of screens can increase your risk.
- Environmental conditions: Less time spent outdoors can increase your risk.
What Is Farsightedness?
Farsighted or hyperopic individuals can see distant objects clearly, but objects up close appear blurry. Farsightedness is usually present at birth and inherited through your genes.
Causes of Farsightedness
Farsightedness, like nearsightedness, also results because of eye shape—the eye is too short, or the cornea is flat, causing light to focus behind the retina instead of directly on it.
Symptoms of Farsightedness
The symptoms of farsightedness include:
- Blurry nearby objects
- Squinting to see clearly
- Burning or aching in or around the eyes
- Eye discomfort
- Headache after doing prolonged close tasks, such as reading, writing, computer work, or drawing
Risks Factors for Developing Farsightedness
Diagnosing Nearsighted & Farsightedness
Nearsightedness is diagnosed with an eye exam and a visual acuity assessment test. The visual acuity test checks your vision at a distance. A phoropter test can help determine the right prescription to correct a refractive error and is done by looking through different lenses.
Farsightedness is diagnosed with an eye exam. It can be hard to detect mild to low cases of farsightedness. However, a refraction test can detect farsightedness and may sometimes include eye dilation.
Treatment for Nearsightedness & Farsightedness
Corrective lenses for near and farsightedness work in different ways:
- Nearsightedness: Eyeglasses and contact lenses counteract the increased curve of your cornea or the increased length of your eye.
- Farsightedness: Eyeglasses and contact lenses counteract the decreased curvature of your cornea or the smaller length of your eye.
Refractive surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea or the cornea’s curvature to reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. Different types of refractive surgery for nearsightedness and farsightedness include:
- LASIK: Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
- SMILE: Small incision lenticule extraction is an alternative to LASIK to reshape the cornea.
- PRK: Photorefractive keratectomy is an alternative refractive surgery if you’re not a candidate for LASIK.
Treating Myopia Progression
Traditional methods to correct myopia, such as eyeglasses and contact lenses, do little to stop eye growth and halt myopia progression. Myopia control solutions to prevent myopia progression can include:
Clearer Vision for Healthy Eyes
Nearsightedness and farsightedness are common vision conditions where a person experiences blurred vision either up close or at a distance. Early diagnosis and treatment can help maintain good vision and eye health.