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Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing properly on the retina. They often cause blurred or distorted vision, and at least 150 million Americans have them. Despite these numbers, many are unaware that there are different ways to improve their vision, such as wearing eyeglasses.

Keep reading to learn more about refractive errors.

Types of Refractive Errors


Myopia or nearsightedness develops when the eyeball is too long from front to back. Imperfections in the shape of the cornea or lens cause light to focus in front of the retina and not on it. A nearsighted person finds it difficult to see distant objects. This eye condition usually develops between the ages of 6 and 14. Regular visits to your eye doctor can help with its early detection.


Farsightedness or hyperopia occurs when the eyeball becomes too short from front to back. As a result, light focuses behind the retina. It’s usually present at birth and causes nearby objects to appear blurry.


Both nearby and faraway objects appear blurry if you have astigmatism. It is where the lens or cornea has an irregular shape, making the light bend in a different direction as it passes through the eye. You could have it at birth or get it in your early years. Moreover, astigmatism usually comes with nearsightedness or farsightedness.


Presbyopia is a common eye condition in middle-aged and older adults. It makes seeing things up close challenging. The lens hardens and loses flexibility as you age, failing to focus light correctly on the retina.

How Are They Treated?

Eyeglasses and contact lenses are the most common treatment options for refractive errors. After an eye exam, your eye doctor will prescribe the ideal eyewear for you. Another way to correct these eye problems is through surgery. For instance, LASIK eye surgery can alter the shape of your cornea to address refractive errors. Your eye doctor can determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure.

Only your eye care provider can tell if you have any of these refractive errors and provide ideal treatment options. At Spectrum Eye Care, our professionally trained team is here to help you make informed decisions for your vision and eye health needs. Call us at (704) 817-4600, or fill out our convenient online form to schedule your appointment.