Astigmatism is not a disease but a focusing error that causes blurring of objects at all distances, far and near. It may be an inherited characteristic or a normal variation accompanying growth of the eye. Slight degrees of astigmatism can cause headaches, fatigue and reduced concentration. A proper eye examination is needed to determine for certain if a person has astigmatism.
Spectacles and contact lenses (hard and soft) can correct astigmatism.
A myopic, or shortsighted person has difficulty seeing distance objects clearly such as road signs, blackboards in a classroom, or scoreboards at a sporting event. Myopia is a common condition, occurring in about 15% of the population. Often, a person will not realise that they cannot see clearly, especially with mild short sightedness. However, an eye examination by an optometrist will reveal the problem. Although there is no certain prevention for myopia, properly prescribed spectacles or contact lenses will enable a person to see clearly.
Hyperopia, or long sightedness, is a disorder where distant objects are sometimes seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus and are blurred. A little hyperopia is not a problem because the lens compensates easily. However, a significant amount of hyperopia can affect focusing and lead to symptoms such as headaches and tired eyes after a period of concentrated visual work. Reading becomes more difficult and schoolwork can be affected. The optometrist can help alleviate symptoms with eye exercises or spectacles for close work such as reading and using computers.
Presbyopia is a common condition that makes vision difficult at a person’s normal reading distance. This is usually first noticed around the age of 40 to 50 years, and is part of the normal aging process. This is because the lens inside the eye, which changes shape when focusing on near objects, loses its flexibility with age. One may find sore eyes, headaches or tiredness resulting from periods of close work. The degree of presbyopia increases gradually until about age 65, making near work more and more difficult. Presbyopia is corrected by a spectacle prescription designed for close distances at which a person does their tasks. Our optometrists will discuss the various spectacle options, including bifocals and multifocals if different prescriptions are required for distance and reading.
Most refractive errors can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or surgery.