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What Is A Refractive Error In The Eyes?

What Is A Refractive Error In The Eyes?

The term refractive error is one that many people will be told they suffer from. But what is it, exactly? Should you be worried about it? What can be done to counteract the condition and bring your vision back to as good as it can be?Read on to find out everything you need to know about having a refractive error in the eyes.

Refractive Error in the Eyes Explained

  • Refractive error 101
  • Symptoms of a refractive error

Refractive error 101

In the simplest of terms, a refractive error is caused by the inability of the eyes to correctly translate the passage of light to the brain. Light enters the eye and shines on the retina, which is a thin layer of cells on the wall of the back of the eye. This information is sent via the optic nerve to the brain to be processed. It’s this light that allows us to see the shapes, colors, and shades of the world around us. If the organ is at all misshapen then it can’t bend the light correctly. This causes the images that we see to be blurry.

Symptoms of a refractive error

The symptoms of a refractive error are:

  • Problems with reading close up
  • Difficulty seeing clearly at a distance
  • Blurred vision
  • Crossed eyes (in children)

Causes and Treatment of a Refractive Error

  • The causes of a refractive error
  • Treatments for a refractive error

The causes of a refractive error

Ophthalmologists will generally use four different terms to describe the cause of a refractive error. These are:

  • Myopia: The most common cause, is also known as shortsightedness. It results in blurred vision when viewing objects at distance. The condition is often genetic and spotted during childhood eye examinations. Many people find that myopia evolves during the teenage years and then settles during their early twenties.
  • Hyperopia: Long Sightedness has the opposite symptoms—distant viewing is clear and close up is blurred (although in severe conditions both near and far vision can be affected), Once again, there is a possible genetic link, although children might find that the condition improves as they transition into adulthood.
  • Astigmatism: This is where the cornea has an asymmetric curve, causing light to be beamed in multiple directions as it travels through the eye. This results in blurred vision, both at near and far distances.
  • Presbyopia: As we age, so the lens within the eye begins to stiffen. This means the eye loses its ability to quickly focus when we look from near to far objects (or the other way round). It tends to begin in most people from age 40 onwards. It can be combined with any of the other three causes.

Treatments for a refractive error

A refractive error is very common and is most usually treated with corrective lenses. These can be either eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, there is another choice. Over the past few decades, the process of laser vision correction has dramatically advanced. This means a quick surgical procedure can be carried out using a laser to reshape the lens. Once done, this allows the light to travel correctly through the eye. For many, this means a life without corrective lenses and is so quick it can even be carried out in your lunch hour! Most people experience little to no discomfort and have improved vision within hours or days. One of the most common types of laser vision correction is known as LASIK.

Get Your Best Possible Eyesight in Partnership with the West Boca Eye Center

At the WBEC, your expert clinician will carry out all the necessary tests and diagnostics to determine whether or not you have a refractive error. Regular checkups will ensure that any changes are monitored, and your prescription tweaked when necessary. Of course, partnering with a world-leading eye clinic means that any other vision and eye issues will be picked up at the earliest opportunity. The West Boca Eye Center is globally renowned for the treatment of conditions, such as laser vision correction and cataract surgery.  Discover more at

What Is A Refractive Error In The Eyes?
What Is A Refractive Error In The Eyes?

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