It’s rare to find patients with the same refractive power in both their eyes. The majority of people have different refractive powers in their eyes. However, they barely notice the difference because the brain compensates for the difference in refractive powers.
There’s usually an up to 5% difference in refractive power in the eyes of patients with normal vision. Any more than that and the patient is likely to develop anisometropia, explains low vision specialist Joel H McGahen OD.
What Is Anisometropia?
Anisometropia is a condition that develops when the difference in refractive powers in both eyes is more than one diopters (D). Patients with the condition see a larger image in the stronger eye and a smaller image in the other eye. There are three types of anisometropia: simple anisometropia (happens when only one eye has a refractive error), compound anisometropia (happens when both eyes are farsighted and nearsighted) and mixed anisometropia (when both eyes have refractive errors but one is nearsighted and the other is farsighted).
What Are the Risk Factors for the Condition?
Medical experts still don’t know the factors that cause anisometropia, but a large difference in the refractive powers in both eyes is definitely a contributing factor.
What Are the Symptoms?
Over time, the brain may favor the stronger eye over the weaker one, resulting in blurred vision. General symptoms include:
How Is It Treated?
It depends on the severity of the condition. Potential treatment options include corrective lenses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery, which is usually only recommended for severe cases of anisometropia.
Keep in mind it’s important that the condition is diagnosed and treated early on. Otherwise, the brain may start to favor one eye and cause the other eye to weaken.
If you have kids, we recommend taking them to the eye doctor for an eye exam every two years. It’s estimated that roughly 6% of all children aged 6 to 18 suffer from anisometropia. The sooner the condition is diagnosed and treated, the better. To learn more about the treatment options, consult an optometrist.
Joel H McGahen OD offers professional eye care services. To schedule a consultation, call us at (717) 264-4012 or fill out this form. Talk to us today! We serve Shippensburg and Greencastle, PA, as well as the surrounding communities in Pennsylvania.