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Myopia vs. Hyperopia: What’s The Difference?

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When it comes to vision, not all eyes see alike. Myopia and hyperopia impact millions of people across the globe, causing poor vision at various distances. Although myopia and hyperopia are the same type of eye problem—they’re both refractive errors—they have a significant difference. Myopia primarily affects the distant vision, and hyperopia affects the close-up vision.

There isn’t a cure for either of these refractive errors. But a range of safe and effective correction and control methods means many kinds of solutions are available for many kinds of people. But each situation is unique, so what works best for you may not work for the next person. Your eye doctor can review the best options for getting the clear vision you need based on your situation.

Understanding Refractive Errors

Refractive errors in our eyes happen when the eye’s shape isn’t perfectly round, meaning it doesn’t bend light correctly, resulting in a blurred image. Think of it like a camera that isn’t focused—when the lens isn’t shaped quite right, the picture doesn’t come out clearly. In the realm of vision, this means that images don’t land directly on the retina like they’re supposed to.

Myopia and hyperopia are refractive errors that impact different areas of our vision.

Understanding Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Myopia occurs when the eye’s shape causes light rays to bend (refract) incorrectly, focusing images in front of the retina instead of on it. This results in a clear vision of close objects but blurry distance vision. 

Common Causes & Risk Factors

Factors contributing to myopia include genetics and environmental influences, such as prolonged near-work or limited outdoor activities. The prevalence of myopia is growing worldwide, sparking increased research into its causes and prevention.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options

An eye doctor can diagnose myopia during an eye exam. Treatment may involve prescription glasses or contact lenses to correct distance vision. Laser refractive surgery may also be an option for those seeking a more permanent solution.

Myopia Control Strategies

While correcting myopia is crucial, managing its progression is equally important, especially in children and adolescents. Growing research supports various strategies to slow the progression of myopia, potentially reducing the risk of developing high myopia, which is associated with a greater risk of eye diseases later in life.

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)

Ortho-k involves using specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses that the wearer sleeps in overnight. These lenses gently reshape the cornea’s curvature to temporarily correct myopia, allowing for clear vision during the day without needing glasses or contact lenses. Interestingly, Ortho-k has also shown promise in its ability to slow myopia’s progression, making it a dual-purpose treatment option.

Atropine Eye Drops

Low-dose atropine eye drops have emerged as another effective tool in myopia control. Atropine has been found to slow the progression of myopia in children. The drops are usually applied once daily, and while we don’t fully understand the exact mechanism, they are thought to block specific receptors in the eye that might be involved in myopia progression.

Specially Designed Lenses

Recent advancements have led to the development of special eyeglasses lenses designed to slow down the progression of myopia. These lenses are engineered to alter how light focuses on the peripheral retina. There are also specially designed contact lenses that have shown promise based on ongoing studies into their myopia control effectiveness.

MiyoSmart lenses are specialized eyeglass lenses designed to control myopia progression in children. They have a central clear zone for distance vision surrounded by multiple small segments that create myopic defocus. This design helps the eye to focus light correctly on the retina while also providing a defocused image in front of the retina, which slows down the elongation of the eyeball that causes myopia.

Lengthy studies have shown that children wearing MiyoSmart lenses experience a significant reduction in myopia progression compared to those using traditional single-vision lenses. So, MiyoSmart lenses offer an effective, non-invasive option for controlling myopia in children by combining vision correction with myopia management technology.

Close up picture of a person holding their eyelid down as they place a contact lens on their eye.

Understanding Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

In hyperopia, the eye shape causes light to focus behind the retina. This can result in difficulty focusing on near objects. Many people experience some degree of hyperopia, but it’s often so mild that a person doesn’t notice.

Common Causes & Risk Factors

Hyperopia can stem from a shorter-than-average eyeball or a cornea that is not as curved as it should be. Like myopia, genetics play a significant role, but environmental factors can cause the condition to worsen over time.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Hyperopia’s corrections often involve glasses or contacts designed for close work, reading, or all-day wear, depending on the refractive error’s severity. Your eye doctor can diagnose it during a comprehensive eye examination. The most common correction are simple reading glasses.

Key Differences Between Myopia & Hyperopia

While both conditions affect vision clarity, how they do it distinguishes them—myopia impacts distance vision, whereas hyperopia complicates near vision. Development differences are also notable, with myopia often appearing in children and adolescents and hyperopia’s effects becoming more pronounced with age.

Impact on Daily Life & Vision Correction

Myopia and hyperopia can intrude on everyday tasks such as driving, reading, or computer use. But corrective measures like glasses, contact lenses, or surgery can restore clarity and improve quality of life.

Discuss Your Vision with Your Eye Doctor

Understanding the nuances between myopia and hyperopia empowers us to take proactive steps toward better vision health. Whether it’s scheduling regular eye exams, exploring corrective options, or simply spending more time outdoors, every action counts. 

Don’t let blurry vision keep you from the things you enjoy. Call our team at West Coast Optical to book an appointment if you’re experiencing any symptoms of myopia or hyperopia. One of our experienced optometrists can examine your eyes and see where your vision is at.

Written by West Coast Optical

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