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What Is Refractive Error?

The Function Of The Eye Is To See Clearly The Objects Around Us. The Inability Of The Eye To Accurately Focus The Rays Of Light Coming From Distance On The Retina Is Called Refractive Error. This Condition May Be Either Because The Eye Is Too Short Or Long In Length, Or Because The Cornea Or Lens Does Not Have The Required Refractive Power.

There Are Three Types Of Refractive Errors : -

A Refractive Error Is A Very Common Eye Disorder. It Occurs When The Eye Cannot Clearly Focus The Images From The Outside World. The Result Of Refractive Errors Is Blurred Vision, Which Is Sometimes So Severe That It Causes Visual Impairment.

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Myopia, Or Nearsightedness, Occurs Due To An Irregularly Shaped Cornea. This Causes Light Rays To Focus In Front Of The Retina, Rather Than Directly On The Retina. Nearsighted Patients Experience Clear Vision Up Close, But Distant Objects Will Be Fuzzy

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

Hyperopia, Or Farsightedness, Occurs Due To An Irregularly Shaped Cornea That Causes Light To Focus Behind The Retina, Rather Than Directly On The Retina. Farsighted Individuals Have Difficulty Seeing Objects Up Close, But See Distant Objects Clearly.


The Most Common Of All Eye Disorders, Astigmatism Occurs When The Eye Is Shaped More Like A Football Than A Basketball. This Odd Shape Causes The Light To Focus On Two Points Of The Retina, Rather Than One.

Astigmatism Is Often Accompanied By Either Nearsightedness Or Farsightedness. If This Is The Case, Both Refractive Errors Can Be Treated Simultaneously.

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Presbyopia Is An Eye Condition That Comes With Age, Hindering The Up-Close Focusing Ability Of The Eye. It Generally Starts Affecting Patients Between The Ages Of Forty And Fifty. Presbyopia Is Currently Being Treated In A Number Of Ways.

What Is Normal Vision?

In Order To Better Understand How Certain Problems Can Affect Your Child's Vision, It Is Important To Understand How Normal Vision Occurs. For Children With Normal Vision.

The Following Sequence Takes Place : -

  1. Light Enters The Eye Through The Cornea, The Clear, Dome-Shaped Surface That Covers The Front Of The Eye.
  2. From The Cornea, The Light Passes Through The Pupil. The Amount Of Light Passing Through Is Regulated By The Iris, Or The Colored Part Of Your Eye.
  3. From There, The Light Then Hits The Lens, The Transparent Structure Inside The Eye That Focuses Light Rays Onto The Retina.
  4. Next, It Passes Through The Vitreous Humor, The Clear, Jelly-Like Substance That Fills The Center Of The Eye And Helps To Keep The Eye Round In Shape.
  5. Finally, It Reaches The Retina, The Light-Sensitive Nerve Layer That Lines The Back Of The Eye, Where The Image Appears Inverted.
  6. The Optic Nerve Carries Signals Of Light, Dark, And Colors To The Area Of The Brain (The Visual Cortex), Which Assembles The Signals Into Images (Our Vision).

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Refraction Should Be Checked Every 1 Or 2 Yr. Screening Children Helps Detect Refractive Errors Before They Interfere With Learning. A Comprehensive Eye Examination Should Accompany Refraction, Whether Done By An Ophthalmologist Or An Optometrist.

Symptoms And Signs

The Primary Symptom Of Refractive Errors Is Blurred Vision For Distant Objects, Near Objects, Or Both. Sometimes, The Excessive Ciliary Muscle Tone Can Cause Headaches. Occasionally, Excessive Staring Can Lead To Ocular Surface Desiccation, Causing Eye Irritation, Itching, Visual Fatigue, Foreign Body Sensation, And Redness. Frowning When Reading And Excessive Blinking Or Rubbing Of The Eyes Are Symptoms In Children.

What You Need To Do ?

If Your Vision Blurs When You Are Looking At Objects Near Or Far, You Should Visit Your Ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) For An Exam.

Why It’s Important ?

Your Doctor Can Make Sure That Your Eyes Are Healthy And Prescribe Glasses Or Contact Lenses. Surgery Might Also Be An Option.

What Causes Refractive Errors?

Refractive Errors (Myopia And Hyperopia) Have Been Found To Cluster In Families. A Variety Of Inheritance Patterns Have Been Observed Including Dominant (One Gene Passed From A Parent With A Refractive Error To A Child), Recessive (Caused By Two Genes, One Inherited From Each Parent Who May/May Not Have A Refractive Error), And Multifactorial (Combination Of Genes And Environment). Refractive Errors Are Present In A Number Of Genetic Disorders, Such As Marfan Syndrome And Down Syndrome.

Four Common Refractive Errors Are
  • Myopia, Or Nearsightedness - Clear Vision Close Up But Blurry In The Distance
  • Hyperopia, Or Farsightedness - Clear Vision In The Distance But Blurry Close Up
  • Presbyopia - Inability To Focus Close Up As A Result Of Aging
  • Astigmatism - Focus Problems Caused By The Cornea

Glasses Or Contact Lenses Can Usually Correct Refractive Errors. Laser Eye Surgery May Also Be A Possibility.
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What Are The Ways Of Treating Refractive Errors?

The Refractive Errors May Be Treated By Either Of The Following Ways : -

  • Glasses: This Is The Simplest And Most Popular Way Of Correcting Refractive Errors
  • Contact Lens: This Option Is Cosmetically Much Better Though The Maintenance And Cleaning Of Contact Lenses May Be Cumbersome. There Is Also A Slight Risk Of Infection To The Cornea, If The Contact Lenses Are Not Cleaned Properly Before Use.
  • Refractive Surgeries: These Are Increasingly Becoming Popular With The Advent Of More Predictable Laser Treatments.

Othre Treatment Of Refractive Errors :

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