A refractive error is the most common eye problem. When the shape of the eye is abnormal, the eye doesn’t bend (or refract) light properly and vision is blurred. If your vision blurs when you are looking at objects near or far, you should get your eye tested. The process of having a patient look through lenses of progressively stronger or weaker power is called refraction.
Refractive errors are just one potential cause of blurred vision, so it is important to have an examination right away if you are experiencing symptoms. Refractive errors are just one potential cause of blurred vision, so it is important to have an examination right away if you are experiencing symptoms.
The four most common refractive errors are:
- Myopia (also called nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (also called farsightedness)
- Astigmatism (distorted vision)
- It is possible to have more than one of these at once.
Correcting your Vision
There are several alternatives for correcting your vision. You should discuss your vision and your lifestyle with your doctor to decide which of these will be best for you.
Eyeglasses and contact lenses are the most common methods of correcting refractive errors. They work by refocusing light rays on the retina, compensating for the shape of your eye.
Refractive surgery is also an option for correcting or improving your vision. This surgical procedure is used to adjust your eye’s focusing ability by reshaping the cornea, or front surface of your eye. The most widely performed type of refractive surgery is called.
A myopic eye is longer than normal or has a cornea that is too steep, so that the light rays focus in front of the retina. Close objects look clear, but distant objects appear blurred.
A hyperopic eye is shorter than normal. Light from close objects cannot focus clearly on the retina. The words on a page will seem blurry, or it will be difficult to see to thread a needle.
Astigmatism distorts or blurs vision for both near and far objects. It’s almost like looking into a fun house mirror in which you appear too tall, too wide or too thin. When you have astigmatism, the cornea (the clear front window of the eye) curves more in one direction than in the other – like a football. A normal cornea is round and smooth, like a basketball. It is Possible to have astigmatism in Combination with myopia or hyperopia.