What is the Difference Between Nearsightedness and Farsightedness?

Nearsightedness and farsightedness are two common vision issues that affect how people perceive objects at different distances. Learn more about these conditions from an expert guide.

What is the Difference Between Nearsightedness and Farsightedness?

Nearsightedness and farsightedness are two common vision issues that can affect how people perceive objects at different distances. Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is when a person has difficulty seeing distant objects clearly. This is because the eyeball is too long or the focusing power of the eye is too weak, causing light to focus on a point in front of the retina instead of directly on it. On the other hand, farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, is the opposite of nearsightedness.

This means that with your uncorrected natural vision, you have difficulty seeing nearby objects clearly. This happens when the eyeball is too short or the lens and cornea are not curved enough for light to focus properly. People who are nearsighted and farsighted have opposite problems when it comes to vision. When you have myopia, your ability to see is better if an object is very close. For example, reading a book is easy, but reading a traffic sign is not.

If you have farsightedness, you see very well when an object is a long distance away, which explains why you may need glasses to read, but you are allowed to drive without them. What correction is needed for people who are nearsighted or farsighted? People who have myopia can see nearby objects clearly, while distant objects look blurry. Myopia can be treated with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or corrective surgery depending on their lifestyle, driving regulations, their state and their occupation. How often you wear glasses can vary depending on the severity of your condition. For example, some people may need glasses to drive but can watch television, go to the movies and do everything else just fine without them.

Others may barely be able to see objects 10 feet away. People who have farsightedness can also be treated with eyeglasses, contact lenses or corrective surgery. It's possible to have some degree of nearsightedness and farsightedness at the same time. Fortunately, the same corrective measures are available. It's important to have a comprehensive eye exam every year not only to keep your prescription up to date but also to detect eye conditions and take appropriate preventive or treatment measures. Astigmatism can cause eye fatigue and can be combined with myopia or hyperopia conditions.

Signs of astigmatism can begin in both childhood and adulthood. Some of the symptoms of astigmatism can include fatigue, headache and eye fatigue. Eye doctors can work to help correct the condition including improving vision to be sharper with glasses. Hyperopia is the opposite of myopia. Objects that are farther away are clearly seen while objects that are close are blurry.

The official term for farsightedness is hyperopia. Both nearsightedness and farsightedness have to do with how light is focused on the eye and where. In farsightedness, the eyeball is too short or the lens isn't curved enough for objects to focus properly. The light will focus on a point beyond the retina instead of being in front of the retina or directly on its surface. This causes blurred near vision.

Farsightedness is less common than myopia and it's also much harder to detect common eye tests (such as those done in schools). However, a comprehensive exam can detect farsightedness so it's important to see your eye doctor to get a proper diagnosis. There are a lot of problems that could go wrong with the eyes. You can have perfect vision throughout your life and suddenly your vision starts to change. This is common with age especially once our patients reach their 40s or 60s as these are common times of visual changes.

The good news is that many eye problems can be treated and even corrected.

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