Refractive Eye Conditions
A refractive eye condition exists when the eye has trouble focusing light when viewing objects at various distances. Refractive errors result in reduced visual acuity and usually indicate the need for corrective eyewear.
The information below is designed to answer some basic questions about refractive conditions. Please remember that the statements below are for informational purposes only. We do not recommend self-treatment. If you have questions about any of these conditions please call our local eye doctor office.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition that causes the image that you see to be focused in front of the retina. This means that distance vision is blurry and near vision is clear, but it also depends on how much myopia you have. Myopia is easily corrected with eyeglasses and contact lenses.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a condition that causes the image that you see to be focused behind the retina. This usually causes difficulty with near vision, but it can also cause problems with distance vision, depending on the amount of hyperopia and also your age (as younger people have a stronger ability to focus). Hyperopia can also be corrected by eyeglasses and contact lenses, depending on your symptoms.
Astigmatism is a condition where the image is distorted due to the shape and curvature of the cornea. Astigmatism is sometimes described by saying that the cornea is “football-shaped.” Mild amounts of astigmatism are usually insignificant, but larger amounts can be very visually disruptive. Astigmatism is easily corrected with glasses, and can also be corrected by contact lenses (depending on the amount of astigmatism).
Presbyopia is a condition that affects people in their 40s and older. As we age, the natural lens of the eye, our focusing mechanism, loses its ability to focus from far to near objects. This causes difficulty focusing and reading, and usually is corrected by eyeglasses (bifocals, with or without a line) and also contact lenses.