The shape of your eye plays an important role in helping light to focus on the retina properly to help you see. Your eyes are incredibly complex, and all it takes is a slight difference in any of their parts to alter your vision. Refractive errors cover any kind of vision problem that arises from light being unable to focus correctly on the retina.
Issues with the shape of the cornea are a common cause of refractive errors along with an incorrect eyeball length. Aging can also cause someone to develop refractive errors later in life. Learning about what changes these errors can create in your vision and how to correct them helps you work with your ophthalmologist to develop a plan to help you see clearly.
What Are the Different Types of Refractive Errors?
There are four main types of refractive errors, and knowing about each one helps you communicate with your eye doctor about your condition:
- Farsightedness: difficulty seeing objects that are nearby
- Nearsightedness: difficulty seeing objects that are far away
- Presbyopia: trouble seeing things that are up close as you age
- Astigmatism: both far and near objects might seem distorted or blurry
As you learn about each of these refractive errors, remember that a person can sometimes have more than one. For instance, you might grow up being nearsighted and then develop presbyopia when you hit middle age, usually after 45. Fortunately, your ophthalmologist can help you find treatments to address multiple forms of refractive errors.
What Are the Symptoms of Refractive Errors?
Blurry vision is the most common symptom for people to report, and you might notice that the blurriness clears up as you get closer or further away from an object. Needing to squint is another common sign that is often recognized in children. Headaches can accompany eye strain from trying to see objects, and you might also notice hazy or double vision along with halos around lights with certain refractive errors.
How Do Eye Doctors Check for This Vision Condition?
A comprehensive eye exam is all it takes to give you answers about changes that you notice in your vision. Some refractive errors are detectable using a traditional letter chart test, but you might also need dilation to help your doctor check for underlying conditions that may need correction.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
Glasses and contacts are the simplest and most cost-effective way to treat most refractive errors. If your vision problem is severe, then you might opt to undergo surgery to reshape your corneas. LASIK is the most common type of surgery for vision correction, but you can also talk to your eye doctor to learn about all of your options.
Some refractive errors are mild enough that you might be able to see most things, yet you could be at risk of having an accident when you cannot. Your vision can also change slowly enough that you don’t notice anything wrong until the problem is severe. Always reach out to your Brooklyn, NY ophthalmology clinic for an appointment if you can’t see clearly, and keep up with your regular eye exams to detect vision loss in its earliest stages.