Refractive Errors: The Main Types Of Vision Impairments & Their Treatments


Refractive errors are the most common type of eye issue that many people experience. The visual distortions can occur due to genetics, the structure of your eyes, medical conditions, and as a normal part of aging. Refractive errors can be managed with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgeries depending on each situation and personal preference. This article discusses the main types of visual impairments and their treatments.

How The Eye Works

Different parts of your eye work together to give you the final image every time you focus or look at an object. The cornea is the transparent front layer of your eye where the light rays get initially passed and get bent to help focus. Some of the light enters through your pupil and the iris (colored part of your eye) to control the amount of light that gets in.

This light passes through the clear inner part of your eye, the lens, and works with the cornea to focus them on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye. Once the light gets focused on the retina, photoreceptors convert them into electrical signals and travel to the brain for visual recognition.


Myopia or nearsightedness is a condition where you are unable to see distant objects. You may see things or images blurred and difficult to read from far. When the light rays from the lens get focused in front of your retina, myopia occurs. This can be due to eyeballs with large curvatures or elongated-shaped ones.

The condition might be genetic, and you may start to experience it first during childhood. It can get worse during school time and settle back in the twenties for certain people. After a refractive assessment, your ophthalmologist will determine the refractive error, and you can choose from eyeglasses, contacts, or even eye surgery to treat nearsightedness.


This occurs when you cannot see nearby objects. Here, the light rays fall behind the retina, causing the vision issue. Farsightedness can also happen if your eyeball is too short or got slight curvature. Trouble focusing, fatigue, eye strain, headache, and blurry vision are the signs and symptoms of the condition.

A basic eye exam at the eye clinic can help determine farsightedness. Reading charts, a retinoscope, and a phoropter is used to test your eyes and decide on the best prescription. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, or vision surgery correction such as LASIK can be used to treat the condition.


Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs due to the unusual shape of the cornea. Those who experience the issue have corneas similar to that of a football without the typical form of a sphere. Light can focus on multiple places instead of the retina, causing problems in both near and distant vision. 

Regular and irregular astigmatism are the two main categories of the disorder where regular astigmatism can be seen more frequently.  The condition can occur genetically and can be diagnosed in early childhood. It is also connected with keratoconus, an eye condition where the lens starts to bulge over time and results in astigmatism. Corrective lenses, eyeglasses, and surgeries are carried out to treat the situation depending on the severity of the condition.

This is a visual distortion that comes with age and can be experienced after the age of 40.  The condition can progress and worsen until the age of 65. Presbyopia occurs when you cannot focus on nearby objects.

Those with presbyopia read newspapers or books at their arm’s length to avoid blurry vision. Eye strain or headache can also occur when engaged in close-up work. A refraction assessment and an eye health exam can diagnose the issue and prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, refractive surgeries, or lens implants accordingly.

If you have trouble focusing and find it hard to see near or distant objects, visit our eye clinic at the New Vision Eye Center for a comprehensive optical assessment. Our ophthalmologists with years of experience in treating patients can check your eyes and give you the best prescription and mode to get rid of your refractive error. Contact us now to reserve your next eye appointment.

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