Can’t see far away

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What Is Myopia (Nearsightedness)?

This common eyesight problem makes distant objects appear blurry, while close objects still appear sharp.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is one of the most common eyesight problems. People with this condition can’t focus their eyesight on far-away objects, making them appear blurry.

Nearsightedness affects about 25 percent of all people in the United States, according to the National Eye Institute.

Causes of Nearsightedness

Most commonly, nearsightedness results from an eyeball that’s too long, which prevents light from focusing directly on the retina (the “screen” at the back of your eye).

Nearsightedness can also be caused by a cornea (clear layer at the front of the eye) that’s not shaped correctly.

These two problems prevent light from focusing directly on the retina. Instead, light focuses in front of the retina, which makes distant objects appear blurry.

Although researchers still don’t know exactly why some people develop nearsightedness while others don’t, it’s possible that the condition may be genetic.

If one or both of your parents is nearsighted, your chances of having the problem are higher than those of someone whose parents aren’t nearsighted.

Nearsightedness Symptoms

Nearsightedness may develop gradually or quickly. It often first occurs during childhood, and can worsen as time goes on.

Symptoms of nearsightedness may include:

  • Distant objects appearing blurry
  • The need to squint to see clearly
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty driving because of poor eyesight, especially at night

Diagnosing Nearsightedness

A complete eye exam by an optometrist can easily detect nearsightedness.

Often, school vision tests will be the first time a parent learns about a child’s nearsightedness.

Occasionally, parents or teachers will detect nearsightedness after seeing a child squint in order to see distant objects.

Adults may begin to realize they have the condition when they have trouble watching movies, can’t see distant objects clearly while driving, or participate in other activities that involve looking at far-away objects.

If you’re having trouble seeing things that are far away, it’s a good idea to get an eye exam.

Even if you have no symptoms of nearsightedness, it’s a good idea to get an eye exam around the time you turn 40, according to the Mayo Clinic. Then, experts recommend getting an eye exam:

  • Every 2 to 4 years between ages 40 and 54
  • Every 1 to 3 years between ages 55 and 64
  • Every 1 to 2 years starting at age 65

But if you’re at high risk for certain eye diseases such as glaucoma, or if you have diabetes, your eyes should be checked more frequently. If this applies to you, get an eye exam:

  • Every 1 to 3 years between ages 40 and 54
  • Every 1 to 2 years starting at age 55

Treatments for Nearsightedness

The simplest treatment for nearsightedness is wearing corrective lenses, either eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Another treatment option is surgery. Two common surgeries include:

LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis): In this procedure, an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) first cuts a round, hinged flap in your cornea.

Using an excimer laser (which, unlike other lasers, produces no heat), the doctor will remove layers from the center of your cornea to change its shape and improve your vision.

LASEK (laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy): In this procedure, the doctor works only on the cornea’s thin outer layer (epithelium).

After creating a flap, the doctor then uses an excimer laser to reshape the outer layer of the cornea.

Following this procedure, your doctor may insert a temporary contact lens to protect your eye for a few days.

Complications from both of these surgeries may include:

  • Under- or overcorrection of your original vision problem
  • Vision problems, such as halos or other effects around bright lights
  • Dry eye
  • Infection
  • Corneal scarring
  • Vision loss (in rare cases)

Nearsightedness (myopia) is a very common condition in which the light coming into the eye is not focused properly onto the retina, making it difficult to see objects far away. The condition is usually caused by an elongation of the eyeball that occurs over time.

Farsightedness (hyperopia) is the opposite of myopia, and is usually caused by shortening of the eyeball.

Astigmatism is an imperfection of the cornea preventing part of it from focusing light onto the retina. The result is a blurred area within an otherwise clear image. This problem may occur along with either myopia or hyperopia. These frequent conditions are termed “refractive errors.”

Diagnosis:

The common method of measuring vision loss is the Snellen Test Chart, the familiar rows of increasingly smaller letters. Wilmer ophthalmologists also diagnose a decline in vision using refraction and retinoscopy and, when necessary, automated computerized devices.

Treatment:

Wilmer optometrists and ophthalmologists prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to compensate for most refractive errors. In addition, newer techniques actually change the curved shape of the cornea, causing it to focus light directly onto the retina, thus producing a clear image. The techniques performed at Wilmer include Automated Lamellar Keratectomy (ALK), Radial Keratotomy (RK), Excimer Laser Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK), and LASIK – a combination of ALK and excimer laser surgery currently undergoing investigation. Wilmer physicians participated in the development of the excimer laser, which they have used since 1990. With it, Wilmer physicians can remove a thin layer of the cornea to sculpt its shape to reduce or correct the refractive error. This new technique is approved for persons 18 years of age and older with specified types of nearsightedness.

In RK, the surgeon makes a series of incisions in the cornea, producing a spokelike pattern of cuts that flattens the tissue, causing light to be focused on the retina instead of in front of it. A 10-year, multicenter study of RK found that it safely and effectively reduces a person’s dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses.

These conditions are dignosed and treated by the teams at:

  • Wilmer Optometry & Contact Lens Service
  • Laser Vision Center
  • Comprehensive Eye Service

You usually can tell if you’re nearsighted or farsighted. But it can be harder to realize or notice when everything is blurry, at any distance. In this case, you could have astigmatism, another common eye defect that affects the shape of your cornea.

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Ophthalmologist Scott Wagenberg, MD, answers five important questions about astigmatism.

Q: How does astigmatism affect your eye?

A: The cornea is the clear outer surface of your eye. Think of the ideal cornea as a baseball. It is typically smooth and round so that light entering the eyes bends (refracts) evenly and creates a sharp, clear image of what you see. With astigmatism, the cornea’s shape is more like a football. Left untreated, it causes blurry vision, headaches and fatigue.

There are two types:

  • Regular astigmatism is more common and causes the football-shaped cornea.
  • Irregular astigmatism means there is no symmetry to the shape of the cornea. Causes include injuries or infections that leave scarring and alter the cornea’s shape, and conditions such as keratoconus, which makes the cornea thinner and more cone-shaped.

Q: What’s the best way to find out if you have astigmatism?

A: If you think you might have astigmatism, have an eye exam. Your ophthalmologist will be able to tell whether you have astigmatism or something else — such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). In fact, you may have astigmatism along with either of the others.

Your ophthalmologist will use a retinoscope (a special flashlight that helps show the eye’s refraction) to diagnose regular astigmatism. For irregular astigmatism, corneal topography provides an image that shows the curve of the cornea.

Q: What is the best way to treat astigmatism?

A: This depends on you and your preferences, as well as your specific eye issues. There are several options, and your ophthalmologist will help you decide which one will work best. A lot depends on what type of astigmatism you have and whether or not you have cataracts:

  • Regular astigmatism: Ophthalmologists treat regular astigmatism with glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery — either LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
  • Astigmatism in people with cataracts: There are several ways surgeons can treat astigmatism in people with cataracts. During cataract surgery, a surgeon makes a “relaxing incision,” either by hand or with a laser to treat astigmatism. (There is an added cost for laser incision.) Implanted toric interocular lenses are another option for people with both cataracts and astigmatism. They treat cataracts by replacing clouded lenses, but they can help reduce or eliminate astigmatism as well. You may no longer need glasses afterward. (There is an added cost for toric lenses.)
  • Irregular astigmatism: For people with irregular astigmatism, ophthalmologists may prescribe a rigid gas permeable contact lens, using the eye’s tear film to fill in the cornea’s irregularity.

Q: Can you make astigmatism worse if you watch too much television or read too much?

A: No, regular astigmatism isn’t caused by what you do. It is often hereditary — if your family members have it, you or your children are more likely to have it.

Q: Does astigmatism change over time?

A: Yes. If it’s not found and corrected early, children with a severe case sometimes develop amblyopia (lazy eye). When one eye is weaker than the other, the brain favors the eye with the clearer image and vision in the other eye can get worse.

Regular eye exams are important

Your vision is so important in many aspects of your life — so the best thing to do is stay on top of it. Regular eye exams and yearly vision tests for your children allow doctors to catch new problems early. These visits also allow your doctor to watch for any changes over time.

Your ophthalmologist will want to check your glasses and prescription every one to two years. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you.

Vision Changes Due to Close Work

There are many contributing factors around how our eyes develop, change and adapt over time. In this article, we will discuss how myopia (nearsightedness) develops, how it evolves over time, how extended periods of close work (focusing on near objects) can intensify myopia into adulthood, and what can be done to lessen its effects.

Development of Myopia Over Time

Myopia: How It Develops

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness or short-sightedness, is one of the most common eye conditions in children and adults, affecting approximately 42% of Americans, up from 25% in 1970.

Myopia is characterized by the ability to focus on objects up-close while struggling to see things far away. The reason for this focus error is the shape of the eyeball: as the eyeball develops and grows, it either becomes elongated or the surface of the eyeball becomes too steep, making the focal point land in front of the retina. Myopia is thought to be progressive, often worsening over time.

Myopia Peaks At Adulthood

Although classified as a progressive condition, the development of the visual system (including the eyeball) is normally complete by adulthood. This means the curvature of the eyeball that causes myopia is completed – it will not worsen or become more elongated at this point. Changes in distance vision should not continue to progress on a regular basis (excluding astigmatism) after the development of the visual system is completed through natural growth

So then, logically speaking, myopia should not get progressively worse as we enter our adult years. But prescriptions are increasing both in strength and frequency. What is the cause? There must be additional factors at play.

To further understand, let’s review how our eyes work. More particularly, how our eyes focus on near objects as opposed to far.

The Near Reflex Triad

The Near Reflex Triad is the process the eye takes in order to adjust and fixate on a near object. The Near Reflex Triad is made up of three functions: accommodation, convergence, and divergence.

Accommodation

Accommodation is the process of adjusting focus for viewing near objects. Viewing distance objects differs from looking at near objects in how the musculature of the eye adjusts the focus mechanism, called the Lens. When viewing distance objects (objects greater than 20 feet or 6 meters from our eyes), the eyes are aligned straight ahead and the line of sight of each eye is approximately parallel to one another. Light from the distance target enters the eye and is focused on the retina, or light-sensitive tissue on the back of the eye. When looking from a distant target to a near target, the eyes must change focus.

Convergence

The eyes must also turn in towards each other to bring proper focus onto the near object, in a process called Convergence. This change in focus only occurs when looking from distance to near. When looking up from near work, or near to distance, the eye un-focuses (releases Accommodation) and the eyes straighten and the lines of sight go from being converged on a near target to being parallel again.

Divergence

The process of going from a position of convergence (looking at near) and Accommodation (focusing at near) to being straight and unaccommodated for distance viewing is called divergence.

How They Work Together

The processes of convergence and divergence are controlled by the musculature surrounding the eye. These muscle actions for convergence and divergence are intertwined with the muscle that controls the focus for the lens of the eye so when the eye converges, the eye muscle focuses the lens for near and when the eye diverges, the eye muscle unfocuses the lens for distance. The eye muscles receive information for when to converge or diverge, direct the eyes to the left, the right, up or down based on information shared between the retina (image positioning information) and the nuclei (eye movement information).

If an object passes to the left of you, the image of the object will fall on an area of the retina that corresponds to your left side. The nuclei will receive this signal and relay another signal to the eye muscles to look left in order to move the image of the object towards the area of the retina where the image is best viewed. Muscles inside the eye then control the process of Accommodation and Unaccommodation. When the act of focusing occurs, the mind assumes that a near object is to be viewed and convergence action kicks in.

Simply stated, there is no convergence without Accommodation and no Accommodation without convergence. There is no divergence without Unaccommodation and vice-versa.

Factors That Can Lead to Myopia Progression In Adulthood

So now we know:

  • How the Near Reflex Triad works; and
  • That the visual system is fully-formed at adulthood.

So then how does the worsening of myopia continue into adulthood? There are 2 possible reasons, both of which are functions of close work.

Over-Focus of Near Objects

As explained earlier, Accommodation is the process of moving a distance point of focus to a near point of focus by increasing the convexity of the lens.

Conversely, Spasm of Accommodation, or Pseudo-Myopia, is a condition that occurs when the convexity achieved for the near point of focus “locks in” and won’t release again to view distant objects clearly.

The resulting blur of Pseudo-Myopia is not a consequence of continued development of the visual system, or myopia progression. It is due to an over-focus of near objects, often seen in college students or people who work exclusively in front of computer screens. Unfortunately, this condition is often misdiagnosed, resulting in an unnecessary eyeglass prescription and inadvertent worsening of distance vision.

An Example of “Locking In”

An example of Spasm of Accommodation, or “locking in” is often seen in college students.

Many patients in their late 20’s and early 30’s report having perfect vision until sometime during or immediately after their college years. The first change they report is a blur of distance objects after reading, studying or hours of computer work – and having to blink or squint to see far away again. The person is looking at a distant object, but their eye hasn’t let go of the focus from the book or computer screen. The person is unable to relax Accommodation. Vision for distant objects gradually returns, but slower and slower until the distance vision is permanently blurry.

With this in mind, they make an eye appointment where their main complaint to their eye doctor is distance blur. Because of this, they are prescribed eyeglasses for distance. The good news is that they do see better. The bad is they become dependent on the glasses, and the problem due to the near focus and “locking in” was never addressed.

However, if it was clear that the problem was the change in focus from distance to near, they may have been prescribed reading glasses to help them focus at near and solved the problem. This could have halted the need for full-time glasses for distance, and the resulting dependence on the distance prescription. Distance glasses clear blur, but the problem of near over-focus remains and the cycle of annual prescription changes and increases continues. If the near point vision problem is not addressed, the progression of pseudo-myopia will eventually lead to more dependence on the distance prescription.

Lack of Peripheral Vision

The latest research on myopia is showing that depriving someone of peripheral vision might be another cause of an increase in myopic prescriptions in adulthood.

When we look out at a distance, we use our central and peripheral vision. When we look close to read or do computer work, we use less of our peripheral vision. Lack of stimulation of the periphery over long periods of time can lead to a distance prescription that is geared towards correcting myopia.

In order to minimize the effect, one should increase their reading distance or computer working distance.

What Can Be Done?

As a Patient

For the reasons stated above, it is increasingly important to explain your vision problems in detail to your eye care professional.

Communicating how your vision symptoms began, when they crop up or worsen, all work-related or environmental conditions that may affect your vision, previous eye or health conditions and medications in your eye exam are important for your eye care professional to properly diagnose your vision problems and to prescribe the proper treatment.

As an Eye Care Professional

Similarly, your optometrist or eye care professional should ask you all the above questions in order to effectively and properly diagnose your vision problem. However, diagnosis does not work in a vacuum and all eye care practitioners are not created equal. At Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, we take the time with every patient to ask the right questions in order to facilitate the proper care and treatment options.

What Causes Myopia?

The structure of your eye is to blame. When your eyeball is too long or the cornea — the protective outer layer of your eye — is too curved, the light that enters your eye won’t focus correctly. Images focus in front of the retina, the light-sensitive part of your eye, instead of directly on the retina. This causes blurred vision. Doctors call this a refractive error.

High myopia: It’s a more serious form of the condition, where the eyeball grows more than it is supposed to and becomes very long front to back. Besides making it hard to see things at a distance, it can also raise your chance of having other conditions like a detached retina, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Degenerative myopia: Also called pathological or malignant myopia, it is a rare type you usually inherit from your parents. Your eyeball gets longer very quickly and causes severe myopia, usually by the teenage or early adult years. This type of myopia can get worse far into adulthood. Besides making it hard to see things at a distance, you may have a higher chance of having a detached retina, abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye (choroid neovascularization), and glaucoma.

When Do You Need to Get Glasses for Nearsightedness?

If your vision isn’t clear all the time, you may have a refractive error. 1 in 3 Americans have been diagnosed with nearsightedness (or myopia), which impacts how far away they can see, and this could be you, too.

The most effective treatment for this condition is corrective lenses. But how do you know when to get glasses for nearsightedness? The key is to understand the symptoms.

What is nearsightedness?

If you have nearsightedness, you’ll be able to see up close, but if objects are far away, they can be blurry. This condition can make it challenging to make out the words and visuals on large screens, such as the television. To know if a child is nearsighted, see if they’re straining their eyes to see the teacher or look at the projector at school.

Nearsightedness is caused by your eyes extending too far or a cornea with an irregular curve. These factors prevent light from entering the retina, which is where it should be. Instead, it goes before the retina, which is what causes objects far away from you to appear blurry.

What are the primary symptoms of nearsightedness?

  • Squinting at objects in the distance
  • Headaches from eye strain
  • Trouble seeing at night while driving
  • Difficulty focusing in class

When should you get glasses for nearsightedness?

The best way to know when to get glasses for nearsightedness is if you are experiencing nearsighted symptoms. If so, you should schedule an eye exam with an optometrist right away, as severe symptoms can signify cataracts.

We recommend having an annual appointment to pinpoint any issues with your eyesight. Your eye doctor can test whether you have nearsightedness and suggest the best lenses to improve your visual acuity.

Something to consider is that many people experience symptoms of nearsightedness, such as blurry vision or eye strain, when they do not have the condition. This is a result of trying to focus on distant objects for too long. Even if these symptoms are temporary, continuing to strain your eyes can cause damage to your eyesight in the future.

Fortunately, if your nearsightedness is minor, you may not have to wear your glasses all the time. You may only need to wear them while going to the movies or while working on the computer. However, it’s still important to have corrective eyewear in case you need it.

Summary: When do you need to get glasses for nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness is common, and a simple nearsighted prescription can help correct many of the challenges you’re facing. Glasses can also help you to see far away better than you do right now, alleviating the pressure on your eyes.

So, what symptoms indicate when it is time to get glasses for nearsightedness? Keep an eye out for any eye strain or blurry vision while viewing something far away, as well as trouble seeing while driving at night.

See your eye doctor today if you have any of these symptoms. Our team of eye care experts is happy to recommend corrective lenses that can work for you.

Schedule an appointment at a For Eyes near you.

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How to Tell if You’re Farsighted (5 Quick Steps)

Table of Contents

  • Steps for Recognizing
  • Diagnosis and What Comes Next

Farsightedness is a refractive condition that the National Eye Institute reports between 5 and 10 percent of Americans have. Farsightedness causes close things to appear blurry, while things far away may still be in focus.

There are two forms of farsightedness: hyperopia, which most people are born with and is related to the cornea being too flat or the eyeball being too short, and presbyopia, which impacts people around age 40 and is also referred to as “aging eyes.” Both can make it difficult to read or see objects clearly up close. (Learn More) Farsightedness can cause headaches, eye strain, and potentially lead to accidents or injuries if you can’t see well enough to perform daily tasks.

There are some indicators you can look for to recognize that you may be farsighted, such as blurry vision when trying to read, holding things farther away from your eyes to see them more clearly, fatigue, and headaches. (Learn More) Once you realize you may be farsighted, it is time to see an ophthalmologist who can perform a comprehensive eye exam that will indicate your degree of farsightedness and what the best treatment options are. Corrective eyewear like contacts or glasses and laser corrective eye surgery are treatment options for farsightedness. (Learn More)

Steps for Recognizing Farsightedness

A refractive error is when the light being bent in your eye isn’t falling into the right place for clear images to appear. In the case of hyperopia (farsightedness), this is due to the cornea not being steep enough or the eyeball being too short, which can cause light to be focused behind the retina instead of directly on it.

Hyperopia is hereditary. Mayo Clinic reports that most people are born with it and that it commonly runs in families.

Presbyopia impacts virtually everyone beyond age 50, and the American Optometric Association (AOA) publishes that the average onset of the condition is between ages 42 and 44.

With presbyopia, the lens of the eye is affected as it becomes stiffer and less flexible with age. The muscles used to constrict the lens to focus on objects up close become more strained and less effective. Both cases of farsightedness can have similar symptoms.

Here are five steps to help you recognize farsightedness:

  1. Assess your vision. Typically, in the case of farsightedness, you will struggle to see things clearly up close, such as fine print, and you may start to have trouble reading newspapers and menus. If you suffer from extreme farsightedness, however, you may not be able to focus clearly on anything near or far, Medical News Today Blurry vision, either near or far, can be a sign of farsightedness.
  2. Consider levels of eye fatigue. By the end of the day, you may start to experience fatigue, and it can become difficult to see things up close clearly. You may rub your eyes a lot and strain your eyes to bring things into better focus.Your eyes can often correct for mild farsightedness themselves, which is called accommodation, and you may not even recognize that a problem exists until you get tired. When this happens, your eyes will have a hard time making up for the refractive error, and images and text can become blurry. If you start to experience blurry vision when you are tired, it could be a sign that you may suffer from some level of farsightedness.
  3. Observe frequency of headaches. Constantly straining your eyes to bring things into focus can cause chronic headaches. You may notice that after a day of looking at text, reading or working intently on a computer, you experience headaches. This can be related to the fact that your eyes are working hard to accommodate for farsightedness. You may also experience burning or aching around the eyes.
  4. Consider how far away you hold papers in order to read them clearly. Presbyopia is a progressive disease. Mayo Clinic explains generally starts to become noticeable around your mid-40s and can continue to worsen up until about your mid-60s. As you start to struggle to see text clearly up close, you likely try to hold things further away from your eyes to bring it into focus better. This can be a sign that you are starting to develop farsightedness or that you are already struggling with presbyopia.
  5. Assess how often you squint. Presbyopia often involves the inability of the muscle fibers attached to the lens of the eye to effectively constrict the lens to focus on nearby objects, so you may try to make up for that by squinting. You may also struggle to see things as well in low-light situations and will try to squint in these environments to bring things into focus. Squinting to try and see better is often a sign of a refractive error such as farsightedness.

Farsighted Diagnosis and What Comes Next

Mild farsightedness often corrects itself as the eyes can accommodate for the refractive error without official corrective measures much of the time. You can help to eliminate eye strain and headaches by resting your eyes when they get tired and giving them a break from screens or looking at objects or text up close for too long.

Again, presbyopia is a progressive condition. While you may initially be able to get by with “readers” from the drugstore, it will likely continue to worsen and will eventually require prescription eyewear or corrective surgery.

If you recognize the signs of farsightedness, it is important to see your doctor for an eye exam. The traditional chart-reading exam is not often enough to catch farsightedness, but a complete eye exam that includes a refraction assessment can diagnose it. With a comprehensive eye exam, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) publishes that specialized instruments are used to measure the level of reflection of light on the retina and the level of refractive error that is present.

Once a diagnosis of farsightedness is made, your ophthalmologist will discuss your next steps and your options for treatment. Eyeglasses, contacts, and laser corrective eye surgery are all methods of treating farsightedness.

Both prescription eyeglasses and contacts can also account for distance vision issues, such as myopia (nearsightedness), and multifocal lens or bifocals can be helpful. Monovision LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) or monovision contacts correct one eye for distance and the other for close-up vision clarity; they can be options for multiple refractive errors as well. LASIK and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are surgical options for correcting farsightedness.

Another solution, especially in the case of presbyopia, is a clear lens exchange or refractive lens exchange (RLE) procedure that involves the implant of an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This replaces your current lens with a new and more flexible one.

Your doctor can help you determine what your next steps should be and how to best address your level of farsightedness.

Facts About Hyperopia. (July 2016). National Eye Institute.

Farsightedness. (June 2018). Mayo Clinic.

Care of the Patient With Presbyopia. (2011). American Optometric Association.

Farsightedness: Causes and Corrective Treatments. (April 2017). Medical News Today.

Presbyopia. (December 2017). Mayo Clinic.

Farsightedness: Hyperopia Diagnosis. (March 2017). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Myopia

What is Myopia?

Myopia is the medical term for the condition known as nearsightedness.

As the name implies, people who are nearsighted can easily see objects that are near to them, but struggle with objects that are far away.

Myopia affects people from all walks of life and of all ages.

What causes myopia?

Nearsightedness itself is caused by a refractive error in the eyes. This refers to the refraction of light that is the cornerstone of healthy vision. In a case of myopia, the light that would normally be focused on the retina directly, instead lands in front it.

It isn’t currently known why some people develop myopia and others do not. However, certain risk factors increase a person’s likeliness of being nearsighted:

  • Family history
  • Heavy amounts of up-close reading or work over a lifetime

What are the symptoms of myopia?

Common symptoms of myopia include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches from eyestrain
  • Frequent squinting
  • Double vision
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Difficulty driving or navigating

Myopia Treatment

Myopia is very treatable, with nearly every person diagnosed with the condition receiving a measurable improvement in vision. Common types of myopia treatment include:

  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Contact Lenses
  • LASIK Surgery
  • Refractive Eye Surgery
  • Intraocular lens implants (IOLs)

Blurry vision in one eye or both eyes

Conditions

By Aimee Rodrigues; reviewed by Gary Heiting, OD

Blurry vision is the loss of sharpness of eyesight, making objects appear out of focus and hazy.

The primary causes of blurred vision are refractive errors — nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism — or presbyopia. But blurry vision also can be a symptom of more serious problems, including a potentially sight-threatening eye disease or neurological disorder.

Blurred vision can affect both eyes, but some people experience blurry vision in one eye only.

Cloudy vision, where objects are obscured and appear “milky,” is very similar to blurry vision. Cloudy vision usually is a symptom of specific conditions such as cataracts.

Blurry vision and cloudy vision both can be symptoms of a serious eye problem, especially if they occur suddenly.

To determine whether you have blurry vision and what is causing it, see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.

NEED AN EYE EXAM? Find an eye doctor near you and schedule an appointment.

Blurry vision: Causes and treatment

Myopia: Symptoms of myopia (nearsightedness) include squinting, eye strain, headaches and blurry vision in one or both eyes. Myopia is the most common refractive error and causes objects in the distance to appear blurred.

Eyeglasses , contact lenses and

such as LASIK and PRK are the most common ways to correct nearsightedness.

Watch this video on what causes blurry vision and how we can correct it.

Hyperopia: If you have hyperopia (farsightedness), distant objects may remain clear but your eyes can’t focus properly on close-up objects — or doing so causes unusual eye strain and fatigue. In cases of severe farsightedness, even distant objects may appear blurred.

Like myopia, hyperopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive eye surgery.

Astigmatism: Blurred vision at all distances often is a symptom of astigmatism. A type of refractive error, astigmatism usually is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea.

With astigmatism, light rays fail to come to a single focus point on the retina to produce clear vision, regardless of how far away the viewed object is from your eyes.

Astigmatism, like nearsightedness and farsightedness, can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.

Presbyopia: If you’re over age 40 and are starting to notice blurry vision up close — when reading a newspaper or other small print, for example — chances are this is due to the onset of presbyopia, a normal age-related vision problem.

While the symptoms of presbyopia are the same as those caused by hyperopia (blurry near vision; eye strain when reading), presbyopia is an age-related loss of ability to focus on near objects due to hardening of the lens inside the eye.

Common treatments for presbyopia include progressive lenses, bifocals and reading glasses. There also are presbyopia surgery options — including corneal inlays,

LASIK and conductive keratoplasty.

For all eyeglasses to correct refractive errors and presbyopia, clarity and comfort can be enhanced with anti-reflective coating and photochromic lenses. Ask your optician for details.

At top is a clear view of a Jack Russell terrier, while the blurry photo in the middle shows how the dog might appear to a very nearsighted person. At bottom, the view is both blurred and clouded, as it might appear to someone with cataracts.

Chronic dry eyes: Dry eye syndrome can affect your eyes in numerous ways, including causing variable blurry vision. While artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) can help, more advanced cases of dry eye may require a prescription medication or punctal plugs to keep your eyes comfortable, healthy and seeing well.

Pregnancy: Blurry vision is common during pregnancy and sometimes is accompanied by double vision (diplopia). Hormonal changes can alter the shape and thickness of your cornea, causing your vision to blur. Dry eyes also are common in pregnant women and can cause blurred vision.

You should always report any vision disturbances during pregnancy to your doctor. While blurry vision is not always serious, in some cases it could be an indicator of gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.

Ocular migraines or migraine headaches: While generally harmless and temporary, blurred vision, flickering light, halos or zigzag patterns are all common symptoms prior to the start of an ocular migraine or migraine headache.

Eye floaters: Vision can be blurred by temporary spots or floaters drifting in your field of vision. Floaters typically appear when the eye’s gel-like

begins to liquify with age, causing microscopic bits of tissue within the vitreous to float freely inside the eye, casting shadows on the retina.

If you see a sudden shower of floaters, this could signal a torn or detached retina and you should see an eye doctor immediately.

Blurry vision after LASIK: Your vision may be blurry or hazy immediately after LASIK or any other type of refractive surgery. The clarity of your eyesight typically will improve within a few days, but it may take more time for your vision to stabilize completely.

Eye drops and medication: Certain eye drops — especially eye drops containing preservatives — can cause irritation and blurry vision.

Also, some medications such as allergy pills can cause side effects of dry eyes and blurred vision. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist or ophthalmologist can advise you whether any of your medications might cause blurry vision.

Over-wearing contact lenses: Wearing disposable contact lenses (or indeed any type of contacts) for longer than your doctor prescribed will cause proteins and other debris in your tear film to build up on the lenses. This can cause blurry vision and increase your risk of eye infections.

Blurry vision can be a symptom of serious eye problems

Eye conditions and diseases: If you have sudden blurry vision in one eye and are over age 60, it’s possible you have developed a macular hole in the central zone of your retina.

Sudden blurry vision also may be a symptom of a detached retina, eye herpes or optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve).

Certain eye conditions and diseases can cause permanent loss of vision, so it’s important to see an eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment if you experience sudden blurry vision.

Cataracts: Vision changes such as blurred vision or cloudy vision, as well as glare and halos around lights at night may be symptoms of cataracts. lf left untreated, cataracts can eventually worsen and obstruct vision to the point of blindness. But by replacing cataracts with artificial lenses, cataract surgery is very successful in restoring lost vision.

SEE RELATED: Can cataracts cause blindness?

Try these interactive Rx forms to learn what the measurements mean on your eyeglass prescription or contact lens prescription.

Glaucoma: Blurry vision or “tunnel vision” may be symptoms of glaucoma. Without treatment, vision loss will continue, and permanent blindness may result.

Age-related macular degeneration: Blurry vision and visual distortions causing straight lines to appear wavy or broken could be symptoms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness among older people.

Diabetic retinopathy: If you have diabetes, unexplained blurred vision may be due to the onset of diabetic retinopathy, a sight-threatening disease that damages the retina of the eye.

Cardiovascular disease and other systemic diseases: Blurred vision, often in conjunction with double vision, can be a symptom of an underlying health emergency such as a stroke or brain hemorrhage. It also can be an early sign of multiple sclerosis. If you have sudden blurry vision or double vision, see an eye doctor immediately.

If you have mild blurry vision that comes and goes, this could mean simply tiredness, eye strain, or over-exposure to sunlight.

However, sudden or continuing changes in vision such as blurriness, double vision, tunnel vision, blind spots, halos or dimness of vision could be signs of a serious eye disease or other health problem.

If you have sudden changes to your vision, you should always see an eye doctor near you immediately.

Page updated July 2019

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Aimee Rodrigues

Aimee Rodrigues has many years of editorial experience in consumer publishing, with an emphasis on the health, pharmaceutical and beauty fields. Previously she was the executive editor … read more

What your vision symptoms say about the kind of lenses you need

Finding the world around you a little out of focus lately? You’re far from alone.

More than 75 percent of Americans require vision correction. And while vision symptoms can put a damper on your daily activities, they can be corrected with prescriptive eyewear in many cases. You can find brief descriptions below on some of the more common vision problems that can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. If any of these conditions describes your vision, be sure to schedule an exam with your eye doctor today.

Help may be just a pair of prescription eyewear away.

You can’t see things up close. This is a sign of farsightedness, or hyperopia. People with farsightedness can usually see objects clearly at a distance, but find it hard or impossible to focus up close. In severe cases, it takes continual effort to focus on objects at all distances. Farsightedness can interfere with reading, writing and many close-up fine-motor tasks. It can also lead to headaches, fatigue and eye strain.

Farsightedness can be corrected with eyeglasses or contacts that use plus lenses, also known as convex lenses. Thicker at the center and thinner at the edges, these lenses are designed to bend light toward the center and move the focal point forward so that light is focused on, rather than behind, the retina.

You can’t see things at a distance. This is a sign of nearsightedness, or myopia. People with nearsightedness have trouble seeing objects at a distance. Their vision is clear up close, sometimes up to just inches or feet away. Beyond that, objects become fuzzy or out of focus. Myopia interferes with lots of day-to-day activities, like driving, taking classes, sports and even recognizing friends at a distance. It can cause serious eye strain, fatigue and headaches.

Nearsightedness can be corrected with eyeglasses or contacts that are concave, or thinner at the center than at the edges. They’re used to direct light away from the center of the lens and move the focal point of the light back, so that it reaches the retina.

You’re having trouble seeing small print. This is a sign of presbyopia, an age-related condition. It happens to everyone. As you reach your 40s or 50s, you may find it harder to focus on nearby objects, like book or magazine print, especially in low light. Untreated, presbyopia can lead to headaches and eye fatigue when doing close work. While farsightedness is caused by an irregularly shaped eye, presbyopia occurs when the lens of your eye becomes less flexible, even in correctly shaped eyes.

Presbyopia can be corrected with reading, bifocal or multifocal eyeglasses, or with bifocal or multifocal contact lenses. Multifocal contact lenses enable you to see both near and far in each eye. Regular contact lenses also can correct the problem through monovision where one eye has a contact lens with a prescription to see up close and the other eye has a contact lens with a prescription to see far away. Depending on the extent of the monovision, a single contact lens may be all that’s needed.

You’re having trouble focusing at any distance. This is a sign of astigmatism. People with astigmatism have blurry or distorted vision at all distances, varying depending on the strength of the astigmatism. Nearsightedness or farsightedness often accompany astigmatism. Astigmatism can interfere with daily activities that require seeing far away, like reading road signs as well as close-up activities, like reading a magazine. Untreated, astigmatism can lead to headaches, fatigue, squinting and pain in the muscles around the eye.

Astigmatism usually can be treated with eyeglasses or specially designed contact lenses, which are thicker in the middle of the lens and thinner toward the edge. Since people with astigmatism can suffer from myopia or hyperopia these specially designed lenses can also be used to correct either of those conditions.

Article information courtesy of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., makers of ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses. Visit www.acuvue.com for more information.
ACUVUE® is a trademark of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.© Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. 2013.
Sources Consulted:
Johnson & Johnson, “Astigmatism,” 2010. Available at https://www.acuvue.com/vision-astigmatism.htm.
Johnson & Johnson, “Farsightedness (hyperopia),” 2010. Available at https://www.acuvue.com/vision-hyperopia.htm.
Johnson & Johnson, “Presbyopia,” 2010. Available at https://www.acuvue.com/vision-presbyopia.htm.
Vision Council of America and Jobson Vision Watch, 2006.
WARNING: UV-absorbing contact lenses are not substitutes for protective UV-absorbing eyewear such as UV-absorbing goggles or sunglasses because they do not completely cover the eye and surrounding area. You should continue to use UV-absorbing eyewear as directed. NOTE: Long-term exposure to UV radiation is one of the risk factors associated with cataracts. Exposure is based on a number of factors such as environmental conditions (altitude, geography, cloud cover) and personal factors (extent and nature of outdoor activities). UV-blocking contact lenses help provide protection against harmful UV radiation. However, clinical studies have not been done to demonstrate that wearing UV-blocking contact lenses reduces the risk of developing cataracts or other eye disorders. Consult your eye care practitioner for more information.
Important information for contact lens wearers: An eye care professional will determine whether contact lenses are right for you. Although rare, serious eye problems can develop while wearing contact lenses. To help avoid these problems, follow the wear and replacement schedule and the lens care instructions provided by your eye doctor. Do not wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection or experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness or other eye problems. If one of these conditions occurs, contact your eye doctor immediately. For more information on proper wear, care and safety, talk to your eye care professional.

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