If your vision has become blurry or you have developed difficulty focusing on objects near or far, it could be due to what’s known as refractive errors in your eyes. Refractive errors happen when your eye cannot correctly bend or refract light, affecting your ability to see clearly.
In this guide by our top eye doctors, we’ll help you identify the types of refractive errors and what causes them.
Hyperopia originates from an error where the eyeball is too short or the cornea is not curved enough, leading to difficulty focusing on nearby objects. The light that enters the eye lands behind the retina instead of directly on it.
Myopia is the opposite of hyperopia. In this case, the eyeball is too long or the cornea is overly curved. Light entering the eye focuses in front of the retina instead of precisely on it, leading to difficulty in seeing objects at a distance.
Presbyopia (Age-Related Farsightedness)
As we age, the lens in our eye gradually loses its elasticity, resulting in presbyopia. This decrease in flexibility makes it harder to focus on close objects. Presbyopia commonly starts to affect people in their 40s or 50s.
Astigmatism happens when the cornea or lens is irregularly shaped instead of having a spherical shape. This irregular shape causes light to focus on more than a single point on the retina, leading to blurred or distorted vision at all distances.
Causes of Refractive Errors
While the exact cause of various refractive errors isn’t entirely understood, they’re believed to be primarily caused by environmental and genetic factors. Some potential contributors include:
- Heredity – Refractive errors tend to run in families. The likelihood of developing refractive errors is higher if one or both parents have them.
- Age – Age is another factor, especially for presbyopia. As we age, the lenses in our eyes naturally lose their flexibility, affecting our ability to focus on nearby objects.
- Environment – Activities like reading in low light or spending too much time performing tasks at close range (like reading or screen time) may contribute to developing myopia.
- Health conditions – Conditions like diabetes or certain medications can cause refractive errors.
Treatments for Refractive Errors
Several treatment options are available for individuals with refractive errors. Here are the most common methods to correct vision problems.
- Eyeglasses – Eyeglasses are the simplest and safest way to correct refractive errors. Different lenses, such as single-vision, bifocal, progressive, and trifocal, can be prescribed based on your specific vision needs.
- Contact Lenses – Contact lenses come in different types, such as soft, rigid, gas-permeable, toric, and multifocal. They can be daily wear or extended wear, depending on your lifestyle.
- Orthokeratology – Ortho-K is a non-surgical method using specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses that gently reshape the cornea overnight. This temporary correction eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses during the day.
- Refractive Surgeries – Refractive surgeries, including LASIK, PRK, and SMILE, involve reshaping the cornea to correct refractive errors. The choice of surgery depends on your eye health and specific needs.
Your eyes are unique and require personalized attention to stay in good health. Consult an optometrist at Insight Vision Center Optometry to learn more about treatment options, such as orthokeratology. If you’re in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach, CA, call us at (714) 486-3315 or visit our contact page to schedule an appointment.