Have you ever had trouble seeing and experienced blurry vision over a long period of time? If yes, you might be near or farsighted. These are commonly occurring eye conditions which lead to difficulties seeing objects up close or far away.
Fast Fact: If your eye becomes red, you feel pain in an eye and it doesn't go away for hours, or you experience changes in your vision, then it's time to visit an eye doctor—an ophthalmologist or optometrist.
If you've noticed that distant objects appear blurry, but closer objects look clear, you’re probably nearsighted. If this is the case, you might also have difficulty seeing the words or images on the whiteboard in class or on TV. When you are farsighted the opposite occurs: you can see things far away but the closer they are, the more blurry they appear. Interestingly, even people with perfect vision may become farsighted with old age, because of the loss of strength in the muscles that control the thickness of the lens.
Both of these eye problems happen because of changes in the shape of the eye or in some rare cases, problems with the lens and/or cornea. In a healthy eye, when the light rays hit the lens, they are bent and the image is focused at the back of the eye, on the retina (light-sensitive lining the inner back surface of the eye). In the case of nearsightedness, the rays from distant objects are instead focused in front of the retina, so they appear blurry. In farsighted eyes, the light from distant objects is focused on the retina but as the object moves closer to the eye, the focus point moves further back. Now, the image is formed at the back of the retina and so appears blurry.
Fast fact: Researchers have found that nearsightedness occurs less frequently in children who spend more time outdoors. Likely due to increased exposure to natural light and regular viewing of distant objects.
These eye conditions are extremely common and can easily be diagnosed during a routine eye exam. That’s why it’s so important to visit your eye doctor regularly. Difficulty seeing can affect many areas of your life including, school, work, and athletic activities…not to mention your social life!
Eyeglasses and contact lenses can correct both near and farsightedness. In some cases, laser eye surgery is also an option. But of course, there are always risks involved with surgery and you should seek advice from an ophthalmologist before choosing to go that route.
More Time Outdoors May Reduce Kids’ Risk for Nearsightedness
Refractive Vision Problems