There many different vision problems and conditions. Myopia and hyperopia are two of the most common refractive eye errors. What this means is that they are caused by eye abnormalities that affect the ability of the eyes to focus light on the part of the eye called the retina. The retina is a patch of light-sensitive cells at the very back of the eye, and its job is to pass signals between the eyes and the brain to tell us what we can see. When the light doesn’t hit the retina properly, the message isn’t correct, and our brain interprets a blurred image.
While myopia and hyperopia are both refractive eye problems, they also have some distinct differences that set them apart. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between myopia and hyperopia.
What is myopia?
Myopia is the most common refractive eye problem in the world, yet many people haven’t heard of it. Instead, they know it by another name – nearsightedness. Myopia occurs when the light is refracted by the cornea in such a way that it falls short of the retina, landing in front of it. In most cases, myopia occurs because the eyeball has grown too long relative to its focusing power.
Patients who have myopia can usually see nearby objects, such as books and digital screens clearly without prescription lenses. However, those that appear far away, such as roads and street signs, look blurred and out of focus.
What is hyperopia?
Hyperopia is better known as farsightedness and is basically the opposite of myopia. In patients with hyperopia, the eyeball is too short, causing the light to be refracted behind it. Again, the message received by the retina is incorrect and the patient’s vision is blurred. However, this time, patients can see objects that are further away clearly and those that are close to their face appear blurred.
Symptoms of myopia and hyperopia
Despite being different conditions, myopia and hyperopia do present with some of the same symptoms. These include:
Blurred vision (albeit at different distances depending on the condition you have)
Eye discomfort including burning and irritation
In the case of myopia, symptoms usually begin in childhood although they can develop at any age. Hyperopia is usually present at birth and tends to run in families.
Treating myopia and hyperopia
Both myopia and hyperopia can significantly impact the ease of which patients function day to day. Depending on your usual activities, it may be difficult to work, exercise, enjoy your hobbies or drive. In fact, it is illegal to drive if your vision is significantly impaired – unless you have it corrected using prescription lenses.
Prescription lenses are the most common and successful treatment for refractive eye errors, including myopia and hyperopia. They work by changing the way that light is refracted by the eye, ensuring that it reaches the retina properly so that the image our brain receives is clear. Prescriptions can change from time to time, so it’s important that you visit your eye doctor in Wichita Falls, TX regularly so that they can monitor any vision changes, as well as check the health of your eyes. This is important since refractive eye errors like myopia can increase your risk of developing certain eye conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
If you are concerned about myopia or hyperopia, or if you have additional questions, please contact Clarke EyeCare Center today at (940) 905-0700.