Clarifying visual mistakes

by Lydia Gee

Common distinctions in vision distortion are classified as nearsightedness and farsightedness; people frequently misinterpret the causes and effects of optic deficiencies.

According to visionexpress.com, the medical term for nearsighted vision is myopia, while farsightedness is known as hyperopia. 

Generally, myopia is described as the ability to perceive objects more clearly at a shorter distance (arms-length). Hyperopia is the antithesis of myopia, this visual defect is recognized as the ability to view objects at a farther distance, such as a classroom board or when driving.

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Natural, emmetropic (normally refracted) eyes project images through the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) and lens (a translucent internal structure that changes shape to focus vision) which refract the entering light that focuses directly on the retina, according to visionsource.com. The condition myopia is distinguished by the frontal shift of the focal point from the retina. Hyperopic sight is produced by visual images focused behind the retina.

These defective conditions are not physically evident to the naked eye, but with a series of optical assessments, optometrists can identify the refractive alterations based on the shape or size of an individual’s eyeball.

Irregularities in the physical eye shape and size determines the optic error. According to schaeffereyecenter.com, nearsighted vision results from the eyeball length being abnormally long or the cornea being too curved. For hyperopic individuals, their eyeball length is shorter than the average or their cornea lacks the expected, standard curvature.

Correcting these defects involves prescription glasses or contact lenses. Nearsighted vision is improved by using a concave (inward curving) lens while farsighted perception requires a convex (outward curving) lens. Wearing prescriptive lenses helps shift the obscured image or object back to the retina and refocuses the individual’s sight.

Although there are bifocals and contact lenses available to assist in the readjustment and correction of faulty vision, these conditions can be genetically inherited. Ethnicity or an individual’s genetic profile is a factor considered in identifying the probability of inheriting certain conditions.

According to Dr. Vincent Chen, an optometrist at Golden Vision Optometry, myopia and hyperopia are demographic and is hereditary (determined by genetic factors). Therefore, it can be passed on from paternal figures to their offspring or descendants.

The Asian community is more susceptible to experiencing myopic vision while Caucasians have a higher probability of inheriting hyperopia.

Hispanics have more astigmatisms. According to americanoptometricassociation.org, astigmatism is a common vision condition that causes blurred vision, which is frequently observed in myopia and hyperopia. The African American community is more likely to experience the effects of glaucoma. This condition is caused by amplified pressure within the eyeball and can lead to gradual loss of sight.

Neglecting to make an effort to correct refractive alterations can lead to other sight issues. “People that have myopia can become hyperopia over time, and vice versa. When someone has one of these conditions, the eye works harder to display and view the image at that state; it is self-correcting,” said Chen. “Someone with hyperopia can eventually have myopia because their eye trained itself to adjust to the harder conditions. Eye change not only alters the vision but the optical change of the eye; this can lead to other problems.”

Other complications that can result from myopia or hyperopia include crossed eyes and eyestrain. Individuals with farsighted vision are more susceptible to developing crossed eyes, according to mayoclinic.org. Eyestrain can cause headaches and fatigue as the eyes work harder to self-correct the blurry images, this may cause squinting or straining of the eye to maintain focus.

Understanding the differences between nearsightedness and farsightedness can help improve an individual’s quality of life as identifying the necessary precautions and corrections can prevent further optical defects.

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