Understanding the Difference Between Nearsighted and Farsighted

Understanding the Difference Between Nearsighted and Farsighted

Have you ever wondered why different people need different types of glasses? Or why some people need glasses in childhood, while others only start to need them later in life? If so, you’ve come to the right place. 

Our Benjamin Optical team is here to break down nearsightedness and farsightedness, the two most common eye conditions that lead to people needing eye glasses or contact lenses. While our team can diagnose these two conditions at our offices throughout New York City, you can probably find out which one might be affecting your vision at home. That starts with understanding the difference between nearsighted and farsighted vision.

For help there, let’s break it down.

Nearsightedness 101

Nearsightedness, also called myopia, means just what it sounds like: You have near sight. In other words, you don’t have any trouble seeing things when they’re close to you. You can easily read a book or work at the computer, for example.

As the distance grows, so do your vision troubles. Someone who’s nearsighted doesn’t have 20/20 vision. That essentially means that when they’re 20 feet away from something, it will look blurrier than it would look for most people. 

If you need to squint to see things at a distance, get eye fatigue or headaches, or always try to sit close to something designed to be viewed from further away, like a movie screen or whiteboard, you likely have nearsighted vision. 

Farsightedness 101

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, presents the exact opposite problem. While your visual acuity at a distance is generally fine, you struggle to see things up close. 

You might also get headaches or squint to see more clearly, but you’ll do so when the object you’re trying to focus on is near you. A telltale sign of farsightedness is holding items like books or menus at arm’s length to see them better. 

For a lot of people, farsightedness develops with age. This is called presbyopia

Seeing clearly 

Here’s the good news: Both of these eye conditions can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. You develop myopia and hyperopia/presbyopia because light doesn’t refract into your eye in the right way to allow you to see clearly. Glasses or contacts change the way the light enters your eye, clearing up your vision. 

You should also know that your eyes change over time. With both nearsightedness and farsightedness, your prescription usually adjusts through the years. So even if you know you’re nearsighted and got glasses years ago, you might be due for a new pair. 

Check in with yourself. Do you squint to see? Are things looking blurrier? If so, it might be time to get your eyes examined. To make that quick and convenient for you, you can call any of our offices or book an appointment online

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