The cornea and lens of your eye helps you focus. Refractive errors are vision problems that happen when the shape of the eye keeps you from focusing well. The cause could be the length of the eyeball (longer or shorter), changes in the shape of the cornea, or aging of the lens.

Four common refractive errors are:

  1. Myopia, or nearsightedness - clear vision close up but blurry in the distance
  2. Hyperopia, or farsightedness - clear vision in the distance but blurry close up
  3. Astigmatism - focus problems caused by the cornea
  4. Presbyopia - inability to focus close up as a result of aging

The most common symptom is blurred vision. Other symptoms may include double vision, haziness, glare or halos around bright lights, squinting, headaches, or eye strain.

Glasses or contact lenses can usually correct refractive errors. Laser eye surgery may also be a possibility.

NIH: National Institutes of Health


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