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Refractive Errors

Also called: Farsightedness, Hyperopia, Myopia, Nearsightedness

Summary

The cornea and lens of your eye helps you focus. Refractive errors are vision problems that happen when the shape of the eye keeps you from focusing well. The cause could be the length of the eyeball (longer or shorter), changes in the shape of the cornea, or aging of the lens.

Four common refractive errors are

  • Myopia, or nearsightedness - clear vision close up but blurry in the distance
  • Hyperopia, or farsightedness - clear vision in the distance but blurry close up
  • Presbyopia - inability to focus close up as a result of aging
  • Astigmatism - focus problems caused by the cornea

The most common symptom is blurred vision. Other symptoms may include double vision, haziness, glare or halos around bright lights, squinting, headaches, or eye strain.

Glasses or contact lenses can usually correct refractive errors. Laser eye surgery may also be a possibility.

NIH: National Eye Institute

Start Here

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  • (American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus) Also in
  • (Prevent Blindness America)
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Prevention and Risk Factors

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Treatments and Therapies

Related Issues

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Specifics

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
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Genetics

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Clinical Trials

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Eye Institute) Also in
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Find an Expert

  • (American Optometric Association)
  • (International Society of Refractive Surgery of the American Academy of Ophthalmology)
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Children

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Patient Handouts

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