Visual Conditions: Nearsighted Or Farsighted

what is the difference between nearsightedness and farsightednessNearsightedness and farsightedness are two different eye disorders that affect millions of people in the world. With that in mind, here is a detailed look at each of these two disorders:


When light enters the eye of a person with normal vision, it is focused directly on the retina. However, this is not the case for someone with nearsightedness/myopia because visual images are usually focused in front of the retina. According to an article published by the American Accreditation Healthcare Commission (ADAM), this condition occurs when the physical length of one’s eyes is greater than the optical length. As a result, one develops blurry vision and is unable to see objects that are far away. Such a person can see objects that are near clearly. Some of the common risk factors associated with myopia include aging, genetic malformations, some medications, and cataracts.




Unlike nearsightedness, farsightedness occurs when a visual image is focused behind the retina instead of directly on it. In some cases, this condition is present at birth. The good news according to ADAM is majority of children born with hyperopia outgrow it. Hyperopia makes it difficult for one to see objects that are near. Nevertheless, one is able to see distant objects fairly well.


The most common method of diagnosing nearsightedness or farsightedness is the Snellen Test Chart. It consists of rows of increasingly smaller letters. Some of the other common diagnostic methods include the use of computerized devices as well as refraction and retinoscopy.


nearsighted vs. farsightedAfter diagnosis, an optometrist may prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct these vision anomalies. The aim here is to focus light directly on the retina rather than in front or behind it. If this approach does not work, your doctor may recommend LASIK surgery. Another option if you do not fancy wearing glasses or undergoing surgery is performing specific eye exercises to improve vision. Other treatment options include Radial Keratotomy (RK), Excimer Laser Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK), and Automated Lamellar Keratectomy (ALK). The aim of surgical intervention is to reduce one’s reliance on glasses or contact lenses. It is also worth noting that some surgical interventions are not recommended for young children and teens. For example, an article published by the John Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute states that excimer laser surgery is approved for persons 18 years or older who have developed specific types of nearsightedness.


Nearsightedness occurs when a visual image is focused in front of the retina while farsightedness occurs when light is focused behind the retina. Common treatment options for these conditions include contact lenses, eyeglasses, LASIK surgery, and eye exercises.

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