These situations of compromised vision are correctable by prescription glasses or contact lenses.
Myopia or short-sightedness
This is when you are unable to see clearly in the distance, and have good near vision due to the eyeball being longer than it needs to be. The most common onset is during the school years, and can continue to progress until late teens to early twenties. Vision is corrected with glasses or contact lenses. The biggest concern is ensuring that the myopia does not progress too quickly. Patients with high myopia have an increased risk of associated complications, such as retinal detachment, degenerations and glaucoma. Current research shows some indication that orthokeratology, atropine drops or multifocal contact lenses are the best ways to attempt to slow down this progression.
Hyperopia or long-sightedness
Unlike its name, a long-sighted prescription is not the opposite of short-sightedness in terms of visual function. The prescription is caused by the eye ball being shorter than it needs to be. At small amounts, the focusing system is able to compensate for this hence creating clear vision. However, depending on its degree and the extent to which one is able to cope with the compensation of this prescription, one can potentially experience blurry distance and/or near vision, headaches, sore eyes or fatigue associated with near work. For individuals who experience symptoms associated with long-sightedness, glasses can easily correct this prescription and hence eliminate the symptoms.
You might have heard others refer to this as a ‘stigma’ or ‘astigma’, but we assure you that it is not as scary as it sounds! “Astigmatism” describes the irregular shape for the cornea (the front surface of the eye) whereby the shape of the cornea isn’t perfectly round like a soccer ball but more like a football. This prevents light rays from focusing on a single point on the retina, causing blurry distance and/or near vision.
If you are in your mid-40’s to early 50’s, you may start finding that your arms are ‘not long enough’ or you’re needing to pull reading material further away from you. This is the onset of presbyopia, which happens because the focusing system is less capable of accommodating for your near vision needs.