A refractive error is a commonly encountered vision issue where the shape of the eye hinders light from properly focusing on the retina, leading to blurry vision and related difficulties. As this condition usually progresses gradually, many individuals are unaware of the changes in their vision and fail to recognise the need for optical care or the potential for improved eyesight. This underscores the significance of regular comprehensive eye exams, which play a vital role in preserving vision and promptly identifying any emerging issues.

There Are Five Common Types Of Refractive Errors:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia) - makes far-away objects look blurry
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia) - makes nearby objects look blurry
  • Astigmatism - can make both far-away and nearby objects look blurry or distorted
  • Mature vision (presbyopia - affects those in their early to mid-40s and older, making it difficult to see things up close
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye) - occurs in infancy or early childhood, and usually affects one eye. Symptoms can include a wandering eye or eyes that may not appear to work together

Why Do Refractive Errors Happen?

Refractive errors can happen when:

  • Your eyeball grows too long or too short, making it difficult for light to pass accurately onto your retina (the thin tissue layer that perceives light at the back of your eye)
  • There are problems with the shape of your cornea (the clear outer layer of the eye)
  • Natural ageing of your lens (a layer of your inner eye that is normally clear and helps the eye to focus light onto the retina)

How Can An Optometrist Check For Refractive Errors? 

During a comprehensive eye exam, our optometrists can conduct a thorough assessment to identify refractive errors. This straightforward and painless process involves reading letters at varying distances, both up close and far away. Additionally, our optometrists may administer eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupils, enabling them to examine your eyes for any other potential issues.

How Are Refractive Errors Treated? 

If you have a refractive error, our optometrists can collaborate with you to prescribe glasses or contact lenses tailored to improve your vision. These corrective measures can alleviate vision-related headaches, reduce eye strain, and provide you with the freedom to engage in activities you enjoy. For children with amblyopia, treatment options may involve the use of eye patches, eye drops, or visual therapy to enhance visual function.

To make an appointment for a comprehensive eye examination with one of our optometrists, contact us here.

Kosmac & Clemens Optometrists

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