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Hyperopia vs. Myopia: What's the Difference?

By Manjari Bansal
Not able to see clearly? You may have hyperopia or myopia. Know the difference between the two and how to get help.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over 34 million Americans age 40 and older have myopia, and around 14 million Americans have hyperopia. Hyperopia and Myopia are common vision problems that may affect your eyes and make it difficult for you to see clearly. Knowing the difference between the two conditions may help you determine whether you or a loved one has a vision problem and how to get help.  

What is Hyperopia?

According to the National Eye Institute, hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a common vision problem in which you can see far-away things clearly, but nearby objects are blurry. It happens when the eyeball is too short from front to back or when the shape of the cornea or lens is not proper.

“Basically, it means that your eye is too short or your cornea is too flat and the light rays focus behind the retina, instead of on it,” Yuna Rapoport, MD, a board-certified and fellowship-trained ophthalmologist at Manhattan Eye in New York, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

According to the National Eye Institute, people with hyperopia may have symptoms like:

  • Difficulty seeing things that are near
  • Sore and tired eyes (eye strain)
  • Headaches, especially during tasks requiring close-range vision, like reading

What is Myopia?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, myopia, or nearsightedness, is a refractive error which can cause you to see nearby things more clearly than distant objects. It happens if the eye is longer in size than normal or if the cornea is too steep. Due to this, light rays are focused in front of the retina. Myopia runs in families, so if a parent has myopia, children are also at risk of getting it. It is often discovered in children between the ages of eight and 12 and may get worse during the teenage years.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, if you have myopia, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Inability to see things that are far away, like road signs or a blackboard
  • Tired or watery eyes due to eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Squinting eyes to see clearly

Can LASIK Treat Both?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, LASIK eye surgery is a refractive surgery that uses a laser to change the shape of the cornea. This makes light focus correctly on the retina and improves vision. LASIK can treat both hyperopia and myopia and reduces your need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

“When considering LASIK, it’s important to keep in mind that this treatment will not prevent eyes from getting worse, so it’s best to make sure your eyes have stopped growing and [your] prescription has stabilized,” Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, an optometrist at Bright Eyes in Tampa, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

Start Your Journey To Better Vision Today.

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