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Nearsighted vs Farsighted: What’s the Difference?

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Many people get confused between the terms nearsightedness and farsightedness. While they are both common refractive errors that cause blurry vision, they are two very different conditions.

Nearsightedness and farsightedness are called refractive errors because they occur when the eye is unable to refract, or focus, light directly onto the retina. This results in blurred vision, though at varying distances, depending on which of these refractive errors you have.

What Is Nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness (myopia) causes objects in the distance to appear blurry. It occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved. This causes the light entering the eye to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it.

Myopia typically begins in childhood, but can worsen until the eye reaches its adult size, at around age 20.

Symptoms of Nearsightedness

  • Blurry distance vision
  • Squinting
  • Excessive blinking or eye rubbing
  • Difficulties with night vision, especially driving
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain

Myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses and, in many cases, laser refractive surgery.

Myopia management is a customized program recommended when nearsightedness progresses each year, since the program can slow down or even stop the myopia from worsening.

What Is Farsightedness?

Farsightedness (hyperopia) makes nearby objects appear blurry. It occurs when the eyeball is too short or the curve of the cornea is too flat. This causes light to focus behind the retina instead of directly on it.

Hyperopia is often present from birth and can lead to a lazy eye or eye turn in some children.

Symptoms of Farsightedness

  • Headaches while performing near work
  • Eyestrain
  • Squinting
  • Burning and aching in or around the eyes
  • Trouble focusing on nearby objects, such as books or a computer screen, or while engaged in crafts or hobbies

Farsightedness can be corrected with eyeglasses and contact lenses.

If your child is showing signs of a vision problem, contact Overland Optical Family Eye Care, conveniently located in Overland and St. Charles to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Our doctors and staff are here to provide you with the utmost care and answer any questions you may have.

At Overland Optical Family Eye Care, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 314-254-2211 or book an appointment online to see one of our Overland eye doctors.

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Q&A

What is myopia management?

Myopia management offers effective methods to help stop or slow the rate of myopia progression. Myopia progression not only increases the optical prescription, but heightens a child’s risk for developing sight-threatening diseases in the future.

Is farsightedness the same as presbyopia?

No. While both of these vision conditions affect near vision clarity, they have two different underlying causes.

Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common refractive error that is typically diagnosed in childhood, while presbyopia is an age-related condition, usually first noticed after age 45, that causes the focusing lens of the eye to stiffen, resulting in blurry near vision.

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