Very few people are born with perfect vision today. While it would be nice to be called “eagle eye” your whole life, most people will end up with some form of optical correction to see better at some time in their life. Often, people will not be aware that they do not see well until they have a professional examination, or at least, a school or drivers license screening. The first professional exam should be at age 10-12 months to avoid the development of a “lazy eye,” also known as amblyopia.
This is so confusing to many people. Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, is the condition where a person has to focus—we say “accommodate”—to see well at distance, and focus even more to see up close. The more hyperopic a person is and the older a person is, the more they will have to focus to see. People will start losing their focusing ability at around age 40—see presbyopia for an elaboration.
Most people who never get their eyes checked are hyperopic. They have to continually focus to see near and far. This presents a burden on vision, and uses energy that takes away from comprehension and retention of information in students and adults. Once corrected with glasses or contact lenses, the eyes become much more relaxed.
- Eyestrain for distance
- Eyestrain for near
- Eye aches
- Difficulty maintaining focus
Did you know?
Myopia is the condition that people have when they are blurry far away and can generally see better for up close viewing. Myopia occurs when the eye grows too long and the light focuses in the eye in front of the retina and then spreads out to cause a blurry image.
There is a global push to try and prevent the onset and progression of myopia through early detection. Children should be checked by an eye doctor between the ages of 10 and 12 months. At that time, children should still be farsighted and be able to see well at a distance without correction. Several treatment approaches can be done to limit myopia progression, including atropine drops and or overnight corneal reshaping.
- Blurry vision at distance
- Holding reading material closer to focus
- Squinting and straining
- Staring to see better
Did you know?
Presbyopia is the condition that occurs when patients are between 40 and 45 years old. It describes the situation when the individual who is well-corrected for far vision has difficulty in focusing up close within arm’s length. Lenses are prescribed to help focus up close for reading or computer work. Various forms of lenses exist from bifocals with a line to progressive lenses that have no lines.
Very few conditions of the body affect everyone in the world in a predictable time frame. Presbyopia is the condition that we can universally count on to show up and impact our ability to see up close if the distance vision is already corrected to 20/20.
- Holding reading material farther to see better
- Eyestrain and headaches
- Eye fatigue
- Lack of blinking and more staring
- Worsens with age and yearly
Did you know?
People with astigmatism have a selective blurriness that is different in the vertical meridian of the front of the eye than the horizontal meridian. It can be accompanied by either hyperopia or myopia. Uncorrected, images look shadowy or slightly overlapped and doubled. Patients who have astigmatism have a front shape of the eye called the cornea that is shaped more like the back of a spoon with one curve being longer and flatter and one shorter and steeper curve. These curves are described to be “toric” curves, whether in glasses or contacts.
The testing for astigmatism is routinely done during a regular refractive eye examination. This is the test where two views are presented and the doctors keeps asking you the “Which is better? One or two?” over and over. It is important to be attentive to the fine differences between the varying lenses shown to you. Astigmatism may be due to different curves on the front of the eye or due to the human lens being twisted, or tilted, or turned. Some people will say they see double, but the images are not actually doubled, only fuzzy. Once astigmatism is corrected, clarity will be greatly improved.
- Blurriness at distance and near
- Vision that is worse at night when pupils enlarge
- Squinting to see better
- Doubled or overlapped images that don’t come in clear
Did you know?
Today’s contact lens materials are a miracle of modern technology and are barely noticeable when prescribed and worn correctly.
Excellent acuity can be obtained to correct for myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Contact lenses can even be used to prevent myopia progression and correct diseased eyes. Contacts today can be worn by all age groups from young kids to the elderly.
Glasses are the oldest form of correction.
Lenses are placed in a frame that acts to neutralize the error of focusing of the eye. Glasses are also called spectacles. Lenses now come in many forms from standard glass (not very common anymore due to weight and safety issues) to plastic and more high tech lightweight and safety materials.
Refractive surgery originally started with radial keratotomy when eye doctors inadvertently noticed that a person who was in a bar fight had his eye cut with broken glass in such a way that it helped him see after it healed and scarred.
LASIK is the more advanced way to carve a flatter shape onto the front of the eye (called the cornea) with an advanced laser pattern. Results will vary but are permanent and lifelong. LASIK may have to be repeated if the eye changes over time or the refractive target was not achieved. The two main common complications are the development of a dry eye and visual glare that can be intolerable in some cases.