What is The Difference Between Nearsightedness vs. Farsightedness?
Would you rather not see your family as they approach you or not recognize them once they’re in front of you? If you need vision correction, either one of these can become a reality and make it challenging to function in everyday life.
Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a common vision problem that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by the inability to see distant objects clearly, while close-up vision remains relatively unaffected. This condition is caused by the shape of the eye, which is either too long or has too much curvature, resulting in light being focused in front of the retina instead of directly on it. As a result, distant objects appear blurry, while objects that are close up appear clear.
Farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, is a vision problem that occurs when the eye is too short or has too little curvature, causing light to be focused behind the retina instead of directly on it. This results in the inability to see objects that are close up clearly, while distant objects still require focus but can usually be compensated for. Farsightedness is less common than nearsightedness and tends to affect people who are older.
You may be nearsighted if you have trouble seeing objects at a distance. You may be farsighted if you can see well at a distance but struggle to see and focus on things within arm’s reach. But what’s the difference between the two, and what can you do when you experience nearsightedness versus farsightedness?
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Nearsightedness versus farsightedness – which is worse?
It depends on your prescription and how you view the world without vision-correcting aids.
For some mild prescriptions – up to + or – 3.00 – being nearsighted versus farsighted may not feel that bad at all. In fact, with these kinds of prescriptions, you may function well in your everyday routine without needing correction unless you’re trying to accomplish some specific tasks. You will see more clearly with vision correction from contact lenses or glasses.
In more moderate to severe cases of visual aids, the prescription depends on what you need to get done. For example, if you’re nearsighted or have myopia and try to drive without correction, you will have a problematic and unsafe time behind the wheel.
But if you’re farsighted, or have hyperopia, and try using a computer screen or reading from a book, doing so without correction can cause eye strain which may lead to headaches; and even with the strain on your eyes, what you’re looking at may never fully come into focus.
That’s why your eye doctor may recommend glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision. Glasses can be clunky and hard to keep on your face without smudging so contact lenses may be better for you to see your best.
Nearsightedness or farsightedness – could I lose my vision?
It is always important to visit your eye doctor so they can monitor the health of your eyes and vision.
Atypical vision is caused when the distance from the front of the eye to the back is too long or short. The focal point where light should fall to help you see correctly is then too far away or comes up too short for light to fall on the correct place on your retina.
In the case of nearsighted people, their axial length is too long, so the focal point falls short, preventing their eyes from seeing further distances.
In the case of farsighted people, their axial length is too short, so the focal point falls beyond where it should be at the back of the eye, making it hard to see things within arm’s reach.
If your axial length measures just slightly longer or shorter than what is considered normal, you are deemed to have mild to moderate myopia or hyperopia. However, your optometrist may be on high alert if your axial length is longer than 26mm.
What seems like a short distance in your eye would translate to a prescription of around -6.00 diopters. A handful of highly nearsighted prescriptions like these can lead to degenerative myopia or retinal detachments which, if left untreated, can lead to blindness.
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Myopia management for nearsightedness
Myopia management refers to the various approaches that can be taken to slow the progression of myopia (nearsightedness) or reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. Myopia management can include a combination of eyewear and non-surgical treatments. The goal of myopia management is to help people see clearly and comfortably at all distances, and to potentially reduce the risk of long-term vision problems associated with high levels of myopia. Some of the approaches that may be used in myopia management include glasses or contact lenses, orthokeratology, atropine eye drops, and multifocal eyewear. It’s important to work with an eye doctor to determine the best approach for your specific needs and lifestyle.
If you’re interested in learning more about nearsightedness vs. farsightedness, we encourage you to get in touch with our office today and schedule an appointment.
Testimonial from Celina, Parent of Children With Myopia
Dr Kramer is great! Both my son and daughter are her patients and with progressive myopia. We moved this year but still decided to drive 3:30 hours to be seen by her.