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December 22, 2020
December 22, 2020
3 min. read

Conditions in Ophthalmology: Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, and Astigmatism

Medly

Do you know if you’re nearsighted? Farsighted? And do you know the difference between the two? Whether you’re getting ready for a check-up or getting ready for your first visit to the eye doctor, read below to familiarize yourself with common sight conditions to prepare for your visit.

Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is an eye condition in which you can see nearby objects clearly, but faraway objects appear fuzzy or blurry. Nearsightedness belongs to a category of eye conditions known as refractive errors. Refractive errors occur when the shape of your eye does not bend light correctly, resulting in a blurred image. Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness Treatment

Corrective treatments for nearsightedness include:

  • Corrective lenses: Corrective lenses, like eyeglasses and contact lenses, treat nearsightedness by compensating for the curvature of your cornea or the elongation of your eye by shifting the focus of light as it enters your eye. Your prescription strength will depend on how far you can see clearly. You may need to wear corrective lenses all the time or just for certain activities, such as driving.
  • Refractive surgery: Refractive surgery, or laser eye surgery, reshapes your cornea to focus light onto your retina and is a permanent treatment for nearsightedness.

Farsightedness

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is another type of refractive error. Hyperopia occurs when close-up objects look blurry. You can be farsighted at varying degrees, depending on your eyes’ ability to focus on close-up objects. If you can only clearly see objects that are very far away, you’re severely farsighted.

Farsightedness

Farsightedness Treatment

The following treatments are available for farsightedness:

  • Corrective lenses: Corrective lenses will change the way light enters your eyes, helping you focus better. They are the easiest and least invasive way of correcting farsightedness.
  • Refractive surgery: Surgery to treat farsightedness involves procedures such as LASIK, or laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis. However, this procedure is more commonly used to treat nearsightedness than farsightedness.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism, a third type of refractive error, is a common vision problem caused by an error in the shape of the cornea that causes blurry, fuzzy, or distorted vision. There are two different types of astigmatism, corneal and lenticular. Corneal astigmatism happens when your cornea is misshapen, whereas lenticular astigmatism happens when your lens is misshapen.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism Treatment

Though your astigmatism may not require treatment, ask your provider about the following if you feel it is causing you problems with your vision:

  • Corrective lenses: Corrective eyeglasses and contact lenses are the most common and least invasive treatments for astigmatism. Orthokeratology: Ortho-K is a treatment involving rigid contact lenses that are used to temporarily correct the irregular curvature of your cornea. These lenses are typically worn for a short period of time, such as during sleep with removal upon waking up. Some people have clear vision during the day without corrective lenses while using Ortho-K, but your vision will return to its previous state after stopping Ortho-K treatment.
  • Surgery: If you have a severe case of astigmatism, your doctor may recommend refractive surgery, which involves using lasers or small knives to reshape your cornea. This will permanently correct your astigmatism.

If you feel you or your child may be suffering from refractive errors of the kind described above, make sure to reach out to an optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination. With a proper examination, you and your optometrist can proceed to determine which treatment options work best for you and your lifestyle.

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