Difference between nearsightedness and farsightedness
For some, the meanings of nearsightedness and farsightedness are not as intuitive as the names suggest. So, what’s really the difference between nearsightedness and farsightedness?
Nearsighted vs farsighted
Nearsightedness refers to the ability to see things that are close by with relative clarity. While it is commonly referred to as ‘nearsightedness’, the inability to focus on objects that are far away is a medical condition known as myopia. Farsightedness, on the other hand, refers to the ability to see things that are far away relatively clearly and an inability to focus on objects that are close to your eyes, a medical condition called hyperopia.
These two conditions are the result of different kinds of errors in the refraction of light through the eye’s natural lens onto the retina. But what exactly are the causes of these two refractive errors? Are they conditions that you are born with, or do they develop over time? And how can they be treated?
Myopia vs hyperopia
Myopia occurs when the eye’s natural lens attempts to bring light into focus on the back wall of the eye, called the retina but the focal point falls short. This results in blurred vision since the image is focused in front of the retina instead of directly onto it.
This condition is the result of an abnormality in the shape or depth of the eye which we can grow out of as we age, or that can be further exacerbated as our bodies develop. However, the development of myopia has also been attributed to the use of some electronics, due to improper lighting during use, or prolonged use of electronic devices close to the eyes. Myopia often develops during adolescence and can continue to develop as the individual grows, requiring changes in the prescription strength or corrective lenses.
Hyperopia presents the opposite problem: the focal point of the light does not fall perfectly onto the retina. Instead, the lens in the eye focuses the light onto a space that would fall behind the retina. Hyperopia is also a condition that you can be born with and may vary in severity depending on the shape of the eye of the individual. However, most people born with hyperopia eventually outgrow the condition as their eyes continue to develop.
As we age, our eyes can develop a third type of refractive error called presbyopia, which is caused by the hardening of the lens in the eye resulting in difficulty focusing on objects close to the eye. This condition occurs regardless of previous conditions or treatments as we enter middle age. People with hyperopia and presbyopia often start to use multifocal contact lenses to help them to focus both on objects at short distances and far away. For some people, multifocal lenses are not as comfortable, so they prefer single vision contact lenses. These lenses correct vision at shorter distances in one eye and further distances in the other and are available from most contact lens providers.
Nearsighted vs farsighted prescription
Myopia and hyperopia are among the most common refractive errors, making it easy to find contact lenses to correct your vision. Since the severity of these refractive errors can change frequently in our lifetimes, you should schedule an eye exam for contacts prescription renewal annually to make sure your prescription is accurate and up to date and discuss which type and brand of contact lenses they recommend for you.
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