Refractive Errors

Refractive errors include myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism, eye conditions that are very common. Most people have one or more of them. Refractive errors can usually be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lens.

Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. Vision occurs when light rays are bent (refracted) as they pass through the cornea and the lens. The light is then focused on the retina. The retina converts the light-rays into messages that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets these messages into the images we see.

In refractive errors, the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing on the retina. The length of the eyeball (longer or shorter), changes in the shape of the cornea, or aging of the lens can cause refractive errors.

What is myopia (nearsightedness)?

High myopia is a severe form of the condition. In high myopia, the eyeball stretches and becomes too long. This can lead to holes or tears in the retina and can also cause retinal detachment. Abnormal blood vessels may grow under the retina and cause changes in vision. People with high myopia need comprehensive dilated eye exams more often. Early detection and timely treatment can help prevent vision loss.

What is hyperopia (farsightedness)?

Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, is a common type of refractive error where distant objects may be seen more clearly than objects that are near. However, people experience hyperopia differently. Some people may not notice any problems with their vision, especially when they are young. For people with significant hyperopia, vision can be blurry for objects at any distance, near or far.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common type of refractive error. It is a condition in which the eye does not focus light evenly onto the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a common type of vision disorder that occurs as you age. It is often referred to as the aging eye condition. Presbyopia results in the inability to focus up close, a problem associated with refraction in the eye.

To read the rest of this article from the National Eye Institute.

Woman washing her face

New Jersey Resources