According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 94 percent of Americans age 12 and older have good vision, but the remaining six percent, or 14 million, are visually impaired. Are you one of those 14 million? When you go to your optometrist’s office for the first time to receive an eye exam, you might hear words like myopia and hyperopia. Keep reading to learn more about myopia vs. hyperopia so you can better understand your eyes.
Myopia vs. Hyperopia
About Refractive Errors
If you’ve been diagnosed with myopia or hyperopia, don’t worry. Both myopia and hyperopia are refractive errors, not diseases or illnesses. Irregularities in the size and shape of the eye cause these refractive errors, and contacts or glasses can easily correct these errors by redirecting light to hit the correct spot on your retina. Researchers aren’t quite sure why some eyes develop refractive errors while others do not, but the evidence does suggest that both myopia and hyperopia can be inherited from your parents (source).
Myopia or Nearsightedness
You might be more familiar with the term nearsightedness, which is myopia. If you have nearsightedness, it means you have difficulty seeing objects that are far away. If you catch yourself squinting to see the board in class or street signs when you drive, but you can read a book just fine, you could have myopia. People with myopia often let their symptoms go untreated because it only affects certain activities – not most day-to-day activities, like looking at a computer screen. However, you should get treated for myopia, because whether or not you realize it, it does affect your quality of life. Eyes that are too long develop this type of refractive error.
Hyperopia or Farsightedness
Hyperopia occurs when you have the opposite problem. People commonly refer to this refractive error as farsightedness. Eyes with farsightedness have trouble seeing objects that are close up. This vision impairment can make common daily tasks a bit more difficult, like deciphering between conditioner and shampoo in the shower or even applying makeup. On the other hand, many people with hyperopia can see objects that are far away very clearly. Eyes that are too short develop hyperopia.
Signs It’s Time for an Exam
Of course, having blurry vision is an obvious sign that you should get an eye exam. However, vision problems aren’t always obvious. For example, even if you had nearly perfect vision as a child, myopia or hyperopia can sneak up on you – it’s not an overnight occurrence. Here are some signs that you might have a vision problem:
- You have frequent headaches that seem to linger.
- You experience a feeling of strain in your eyes.
- You find yourself squinting to read and see things clearly.
- You must hold objects farther away to read.
- You’ve developed diabetes, Graves’ disease, or another condition that affects eyesight.
- You’re experiencing sensitivity to light.
- You have difficulty seeing when you drive at night.
Now that you know more about myopia vs. hyperopia, are you ready to have your eyes tested? If you live near southwest Missouri, contact Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. One of the unique features of our family-owned business is that we manufacture lenses at our own laboratory, giving us total control over the service and pricing, and we’re happy to pass our savings on to you. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an email to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location). We look forward to hearing from you!