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Q: Am I nearsighted or farsighted?

Posted June 05, 2013 in Advice Column, Urbandale

A: It may seem simple, but often people don’t know whether they are nearsighted or farsighted, as these terms can be confusing. Here are explanations of the four most common refractive errors:

Nearsightedness, or myopia, is when a person cannot see objects far away clearly. According to the American Optometric Association, approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population is nearsighted. Depending on the severity of the myopia, glasses or contact lenses may be worn to correct a person’s vision.

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is when a person cannot focus on objects up close. Common symptoms of farsightedness include eyestrain, eye fatigue, inability to concentrate on close work and headaches. Small amounts of hyperopia may not need correction, as the eyes may be able to compensate for it. However larger amounts of hyperopia can require glasses or contact lenses.

Astigmatism is a condition that results from an irregular curvature of the eye. Most people have some degree of astigmatism, but sometimes it is so mild that no correction is needed. Larger amounts of astigmatism are corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Symptoms of astigmatism include distorted or blurred vision, eye strain, or headaches

Presbyopia is an age-related change in vision due to the crystalline lens inside the eye losing the ability to focus. This causes difficulty in focusing on close objects. Common symptoms of presbyopia include holding reading material at arm’s length, blurred vision, eye fatigue and headaches. Typically presbyopia becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s.

Information provided by Dr. Lisa Lansink, One Hour Optical, 4100 University Ave., West Des Moines, 224-1317

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