Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Common Refractive Errors

Question: What exactly are the differences between nearsightedness, farsightedness and an astigmatism?

Answer: Nearsightedness or myopia, farsightedness or hyperopia and astigmatism are three common refractive errors of the eye that cause blurred vision.

Myopic Eye


Myopia results either from the eye being too long or the cornea-the clear dome shaped lens in the front of the eye-being too curved. In either case the myopic or nearsighted eye focuses light in front of the retina resulting in blurred vision whereby objects and images far away are blurred-and objects that are closer are clear.



Hyoperic Eye



Hyperopia results either from the eye being short or the cornea being too flat. In either case the hyperopic or farsighted eye focuses light behind the retina resulting in blurred vision whereby objects and images up close are blurred-and objects that are far away are clearer.




Astimatic Eye


Astigmatism typically results from the cornea being unequally curved vertically as compared to horizontally so that it is shaped more like a football rather than a basketball.





Astigmatism causes the eye to have two different focal points and thus blurs objects more in one direction that the other i.e. it distorts vertical objects more that horizontal or visa versa. 
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