Refractive errors occur when your eye cannot refract light properly. In order to see, your cornea and lens bend and refract light to focus it on the retina. The retina receives the light rays and then sends that image to the brain. When the shape of the eye doesn't allow the light to be refracted properly, the image you see is blurred in some way.
Types of Refractive Errors:
Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the eye is longer than normal and the cornea is too steep or more curved, which results in light being refracted in front of the retina instead of on the retina itself. Close objects appear clearly, while distant objects appear blurry.
Hyperopia (farsightedness) occurs when the eye is shorter than normal and the cornea is to flat, which results in the light being refracted behind the retina instead of on the retina itself. Distant objects appear clearly, while close objects appear blurry. Most children are hyperopic, but don't experience blurry vision until later in life when they start losing the ability to focus, requiring reading glasses.
Astigmatism (distorted vision) occurs when the cornea curves more one way than the other, resulting in a shape much like a football. Distorted vision is the result, which can blur near and distant objects. Astigmatisms are possible in conjunction with myopia and hyperopia.
Presbyopia is the natural progression of the eye that eventually makes it difficult to read at close range. When you are young, the lens of the eye is soft and flexible, allowing you to focus on objects both close and far away. After age 40, the lens becomes more rigid, making it more difficult to read at close range. Presbyopia can occur in conjunction with mopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism.
Eyeglasses and contacts are the most common methods of correcting refractive errors. The lenses of glasses or contacts focus the light rays on the retina, compensating for the irregular shape of the eye. Refractive surgery is also an option to correct or improve vision, which adjusts your eye's ability to focus by reshaping the cornea or the front surface of the eye.
If you believe you are suffering with a refractive error and would like to discuss treatment options, give us a call today to schedule and appointment!