Refractive errors can develop at any age, including at birth. They’re usually caused by improper light focusing on the retina. Millions of Americans suffer from varying levels of refractive errors.
Here are different types of refractive errors and ways to correct them.
What Are the Types of Refractive Errors?
- Nearsightedness (Myopia)
Nearsightedness or myopia makes objects at a certain distance look blurry. It occurs when the eyeball has grown longer from the front to the back. Sometimes, it’s also due to problems with the shape of the cornea or the lens, which make light focus in front of the retina instead of on it. Nearsightedness typically starts between the ages of 6 and 14.
- Farsightedness (Hyperopia)
This type of refractive error is the opposite of nearsightedness. It makes nearby objects look blurry while distant objects appear clearer. Hyperopia occurs when the eyeball grows too short from front to back. The shape of the cornea or the lens makes light focus behind the retina instead of on it. Farsighted people are usually born with this condition.
This condition causes both far and near objects to appear distorted or blurred. It develops when the cornea or the lens has a different shape that makes light bend in a different way when it enters the eyes. Some people with astigmatism are born with it, but others develop the condition during childhood or when they’re older.
People develop presbyopia as they get older, usually after age 45. The lens in the eye becomes harder and less flexible as you get older, so it can no longer focus light correctly on the retina. As a result, older adults with presbyopia find it difficult to see things up close.
How Are Refractive Errors Corrected?
- Glasses: A good pair of eyeglasses can correct most refractive errors. Schedule an eye examination to find out which lenses can give you the clearest vision.
- Contacts: Contact lenses function like eyeglasses, but they are designed to sit on the surface of your eyes.
- Surgery: You can alter the shape of your cornea to fix refractive errors. Consult your doctor to know if this type of vision correction suits your condition.