If you have heard the term "refractive error," it can be a little confusing. A refractive error is essentially a vision problem, such as only being able to see objects up close, but not far away. There are different types of refractive errors you might experience, all of which change how your retina focuses on light. There are many causes and treatments for them, depending what refractive error you are dealing with. Here is more information about these eye conditions and what can be done about them.
Types of Refractive Errors
The first thing to know about refractive errors is that there are more than one of them. You may have just one of these conditions, or more than one of them. Here are the most common refractive errors you might be dealing with.
You see better up close – If you can see objects, details and faces very well up close, but not far away, you have what is called myopia. This is often referred to as nearsightedness. It is very common and usually an inherited condition, though it may not show up until late childhood or early adulthood.
You see better far away – The opposite of myopia is hyperopia, or farsightedness. With this condition, you can see better from far away, but when you get closer to these objects, they start to blur. Like myopia, hyperopia is usually inherited and runs in families.
Your focus is getting worse as you age – When you notice that as you age, it is getting harder to focus on items that are right in front of you, this is called presbyopia. It is more a gradual condition, typically the result of the aging process.
You have blurry vision – There are many causes of blurry vision, though astigmatism is a common cause. This is a type of refractive error that occurs when there is a curvature in your cornea. It also happens to be one of the conditions often treated with surgery.
Diagnosing Refractive Errors
Having problems with your vision is a common reason to visit an optometrist. They will most likely begin with a regular eye exam. If you are not due for a routine eye exam but are dealing with eye strain, headaches, blurry vision, double vision, squinting, or haziness, it is time to make an appointment. To diagnose a refractive error, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and check your vision. This will be similar to your other eye exams, where your eyes are dilated and you go through a series of painless tests to determine what the problem is.
Treating Refractive Errors
The type of treatment you get depends on a lot of factors, such as your age, overall physical health, the type of refractive error, and what other treatments you have considered. The majority of them are treated without surgery, such as getting contact lenses or wearing glasses. Aside from wearing corrective eyewear, you might also be a candidate for lasik surgery. This is usually a good choice when errors in your vision are caused by the shape of your cornea, or if you're tired of wearing glasses or contacts for simple refraction problems.Share
17 April 2015
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