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Refractive Error

Refractive error is a condition that causes blurred vision when light rays entering the eye meet in front of or behind the retina rather than directly on it.

Normally, light rays are bent (refracted) by the cornea and lens and focus directly on the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye, which results in clear vision.

In most cases, refractive errors represent a natural variation from normal vision and are not considered a disease. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia are common refractive errors.

Vision usually can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses or, in some cases, surgery.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last Revised October 16, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.