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Nearsighted vs Farsighted: What’s the Difference?

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.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

Are Contact Lenses Safe For Young Children?

How Long Does It Take to Get Used to New Glasses?

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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.

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor in Overland can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness with specialized digital eye exams, so that you can enjoy being out and about at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

    • Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.
    • CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.
    • Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.
    • GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.
    • MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.
    • KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.
    • Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.
    • Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.


While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Overland Optical Family Eye Care in Overland to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Sara Schmitz, O.D.

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In St. Louis, Missouri. Visit Overland Optical Family Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How Can My Child’s Myopia Be Corrected?

At Overland Optical Family Eye Care, we help children like yours achieve clear and comfortable vision, so they can succeed at the important things in life.

Methods of Myopia Correction

Contact Lenses

Contacts can be a great choice, especially for physically active children or teens who don’t want to worry about breaking or misplacing their eyeglasses. In some cases of very high myopia, contact lenses can offer clearer vision than glasses.

Corrective contact lenses are usually placed in the eyes upon waking and removed at night before bedtime. There are several types, including: soft contacts, daily disposables, extended wear, and rigid gas permeable (hard) lenses. Navigating through the differences between them can be daunting. Fortunately, if you’re located in Overland our eye doctor will be happy to guide you. Speak with Dr. Sara Schmitz, O.D. to determine whether your child is ready for contact lenses.

Prescription Glasses

Glasses are a popular choice among our younger patients. Choosing from an array of styles makes the process fun and exciting! Allowing the children to be active participants in selecting their eyewear increases the likelihood that they’ll actually wear them. There are strong, flexible and resilient frames which look great and are comfortable too.

The optician can customize the lenses with additions and upgrades like impact-resistant or shatter-proof materials, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, UV filters, and transition lenses that darken in the sun. For those requiring vision correction for distance and near, we also offer bifocal or multifocal lens prescriptions.

We Can Help Correct Your Child’s Myopia

If you’re located near Overland, Missouri, an eye exam with our optometrist can determine your child’s exact prescription, and give you the opportunity to receive answers to any questions you may have about your child’s eye health and vision. Progressive myopia, where a growing child’s prescription continues to worsen, is why it’s important for myopic children to undergo eye exams at least once a year.

At Overland Optical Family Eye Care, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to recommend the most suitable method of correcting your child’s myopia to meet his or her individual needs. Thanks to the wide range options available, your child will walk away with eyewear that will not only enhance his or her style but will also be a boost of confidence.

Let us help your child see the world in a whole new light. To schedule your child’s annual eye exam or if you have any further questions, contact Overland Optical Family Eye Care at 314-254-2211 today.

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