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Myopia vs. Hyperopia: What’s the Difference?

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A teenager is squinting her eyes and she's looking to close on the screen while using a laptop computer.

Most vision problems stem from myopia or hyperopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness and farsightedness. It can sometimes be challenging to understand why your vision is blurry and if it results from myopia or hyperopia.

If you have myopia, distance vision is blurry, and if you have hyperopia, near vision is blurry. Regular visits to your optometrist for comprehensive eye exams can help you understand why your vision is blurry and the best way to correct it.

The Similarities Between Myopia and Hyperopia

Nearsightedness and farsightedness are both common refractive errors that occur when the shape of your eye keeps the light from focusing on the retina. Shared common symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye strain
  • Squinting
  • Headaches 

Refractive errors are caused by an atypical shape of the eye, for instance:

  • The length of the eye is too long or too short
  • The cornea’s shape is causing problems

If you’re noticing blurry vision, talk with your optometrist early to correct the error before it causes uncomfortable symptoms.

What Is Myopia?

Nearsightedness is incredibly common, and almost 30% of Americans have myopia. The most prominent symptom of myopia is blurry vision when you’re looking at something at a distance.

It may begin to impact children and adolescents in school, and an eye exam and proper corrective lenses can help them enjoy their activities and may support improved academic performance.

Causes of Myopia

Myopia occurs when the eye is too long, or the cornea is too curved. The exact cause of myopia is unknown, but there may be a hereditary factor. But even people in a family with perfect vision may develop myopia due to environmental factors or health issues.

Those who do primarily close-vision work can experience “pseudo” myopia; blurred vision because of the overuse of your eyes’ near focusing can occur after prolonged near work. Clear vision typically returns to normal after rest. However, constant stress on your vision can lead to an irreversible reduction of distance vision.

Some people may only experience myopia in certain conditions. Night myopia can result from low light conditions making it difficult for the eyes to focus correctly.

Myopia symptoms can also indicate early stages of cataract development and can indicate fluctuations in blood sugar in those with diabetes.

Symptoms of Myopia

Myopia symptoms typically develop in children as the eyes develop and grow. However, stress-induced myopia or diabetes-related myopia can emerge in adulthood.

Symptoms of myopia include:

  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • Eye strain, causing your eyes to feel tired and possibly in pain
  • Squinting to focus your vision
  • Headaches

Children may be unable to express their struggle to see at a distance. Observing their behaviors can help indicate to adults their vision problems, such as:

  • Persistent squinting
  • Lack of awareness of distant objects
  • Excessive blinking
  • Sit close to the television
  • Frequent rubbing of their eyes

Optometrists can perform tests that your child can understand to determine whether they’re having problems with their distance vision.

A mature man is reading a book and holding it far from him.

What Is Hyperopia?

Farsightedness is less common and affects around 10% of Americans. If you have problems seeing close objects, it can indicate hyperopia.

There are varying degrees of severity of farsightedness. If you can only see things at a great distance, you have severe hyperopia, and the closer you can see objects, the less severe your hyperopia is.

Causes of Hyperopia

Hyperopia occurs when the cornea has a too slight curvature and is not bending the light to the retina at the back of your eye. You may be more likely to develop hyperopia if you have a family history of it. Your genes can influence the growth of your eye, including its length and curvature.

Symptoms of Hyperopia

Hyperopia symptoms are like other refractive errors, but they occur for different reasons. The most common symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision when looking at close objects
  • Squinting to see clearly
  • Ache or burning sensation in your eyes
  • Headaches after reading or working on near-focus tasks

Children’s undiagnosed hyperopia and myopia can cause misdiagnosis of learning disorders, ADHD, and behavioral issues. Children with hyperopia may experience symptoms such as:

  • Headaches and fatigue during near vision tasks, like reading, writing, or computer work
  • Squinting
  • Holding books, tablets, or phones at arm’s length

In some cases, children may develop strabismus or crossed eyes if farsightedness isn’t diagnosed or corrected early.

How to Correct Refractive Errors

Identifying myopia or hyperopia early can help restore clear vision and slow its progression. Optometrists typically treat refractive errors with:

  • Glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Surgery

Corrective lenses help compensate for the curve of your cornea or the elongation of your eyes. Prescription glasses or contacts help focus the light into your eyes for clear vision.

Refractive surgery is a permanent solution that uses lasers to reshape the cornea. This popular surgery can help eliminate or reduce your reliance on contacts and glasses. While you may still need to wear corrective lenses on occasion, your prescription may be dramatically reduced.

Correct Your Blurred Vision

You don’t have to live with distorted vision. Corrective lenses can be the solution you need if you notice a decrease in vision quality. Visit Crum Optometric Group for a comprehensive vision exam to test for refractive errors, contact lens exams, and fittings, and browse our modern frame selection to correct your myopia or hyperopia.

Written by Total Vision

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