Farsightedness & Nearsightedness
Are you a patient in Albuquerque who suspects that something is wrong with your eyesight, but you're not sure what? Perhaps your reading glasses no longer work, or maybe you can't see the presentation in a university class from the back row. Read more below about two common conditions — nearsightedness and farsightedness — and learn what to do if you experience these symptoms.
How Your Eyes Work
Contrary to popular belief, your eyes don't do much "seeing.” Your brain is actually responsible for most visual information processed by your eyes. When light hits your eyes, it enters through the cornea, which is the transparent, thin layer on top of your iris (the colorful part). The lens, which is just inside the eye, refracts or bends the light when it passes through the pupil.
After it passes through the pupil, it hits the retina, at the back of your eye, which decodes the light and image information that has just entered your eye. As you can probably see, there are a lot of different parts to the eye that do different jobs, and when one doesn't work, the whole sight process can be thrown off. Learn more below about what happens when your vision starts becoming blurry, far away, or up close.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is the term used to describe a condition in which a person can see objects, text, and pictures clearly up close, but they have trouble making them out when they are far away. At a distance, objects look fuzzy. In cases of severe nearsightedness, you may not be able to tell what the object across the room is!
This is one type of "refractive" error — which means that your eyes have trouble converting the light received into a proper image. In the case of nearsightedness, the light that enters your eye cannot focus on the retina. Usually, you're born with a cornea that is too round, or your eyeball itself may be too long. These errors can begin later in life as well.
Nearsightedness is pretty easy to self-diagnose — you won't be able to read text that is far away like road signs, presentations, or that menu on the wall at your favorite coffee shop — but it's essential to see an eye doctor to make sure it's true nearsightedness caused by a refractive error and not a symptom of other vision conditions such as glaucoma. Symptoms you may notice with nearsightedness are:
- Blurry vision when looking at objects or text far away from you
- Eye soreness or fatigue
- Squinting when trying to see
If you've guessed that farsightedness is the opposite of nearsightedness, you are correct! Farsightedness, or hyperopia, makes it difficult to read text or view objects close to your eyes. The closer they get, the blurrier your vision becomes. Unlike nearsightedness, which can happen at any age, farsightedness is a common yet annoying change for many people who reach middle or old age.
Hyperopia develops when the eyeball is too short, or the lens does not curve enough for the light to focus correctly on the retina. Often, the light focuses somewhere beyond the retina instead of on it or in front of it. It's not detected in many vision screenings, such as those conducted by schools, so if you or your school-aged child is having trouble seeing objects up close, it's important to get an eye checkup as soon as possible to consider all causes.
Farsightedness can be difficult to diagnose, and it's often when a middle-aged person complains of not being able to read text that is right in front of their face that it is considered. It can happen in younger people, but it's not as common. If you're farsighted, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Holding a phone, book, or menu too close to see the text better
- Pain or aching around the eye area
- Headaches when you read or spend time focusing on objects close to your eyes
Are There Treatments for These Visual Impairments?
Yes! Our ophthalmologists at Southwest Eyecare in Albuquerque see many cases of myopia and hyperopia, and they are experienced at diagnosing and treating cases that may have gone undetected for months or years. Often, a new set of glasses or contact lenses can be the key to regaining healthy vision and going back to work or school with confidence.
Using glasses that are made specifically for your eyes — unlike the reading glasses you may pick up at a drugstore — can correct the problem of light entering your eye incorrectly. Whether you are more comfortable with contacts or glasses, these corrective lenses can help your eyes focus and eliminate the symptoms of eyestrain and fuzziness that you're undoubtedly tired of.
Get Treatment For Your Myopia Or Hyperopia in Albuquerque
Both nearsightedness and farsightedness can be annoying and troublesome for patients, but the good news is that there are many treatments for both conditions. If you notice any of the symptoms above in yourself or your loved ones, please don't delay treatment! Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive eye examination. We look forward to seeing you — and helping you see better!