Blurred vision often stems from myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), which are refractive errors that distort your vision. How can you tell which refractive error is blurring your vision?
If you struggle to see things at a distance, you may have some degree of myopia, and if it’s difficult for you to see up close, you may have hyperopia.
Comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist can help you find the cause of your blurry vision and begin correcting your myopia or hyperopia. With the right corrective lenses, you can experience crisp vision close up and far away.
Myopia is a common vision problem that affects about 30% of Canadians. Those who are nearsighted have little to no difficulty seeing things up close, but objects at a distance are difficult to make out.
Myopia tends to begin developing in children and can keep advancing into adulthood. Adults in their early 20s may also notice their vision levels feel off but see little myopia progression during their late 20s.
Myopia symptoms can appear as eyes develop and grow in childhood and adolescence. The symptoms can include:
- Blurred vision when looking at objects at a distance
- Eye strain, sometimes leading to fatigue and eye pain
While the cause of myopia isn’t definitively known, researchers believe there may be a genetic link. Health conditions can also manifest in the eyes and cause myopia development. Adult onset myopia can indicate the early stages of eye conditions such as cataracts or diabetic retinopathy.
Pseudomyopia is a temporary type of nearsightedness that occurs when your eyes try to accommodate the overstimulation of your ciliary muscle. It can manifest as blurry vision, photophobia (light sensitivity), and ocular pain. It’s temporary, and vision typically reverts to its original state, but chronic stress can cause irreversible myopia.
Some only experience night myopia. In low-light settings, symptoms of myopia can appear even in those with perfect vision.
Compared to myopia, hyperopia is less common. Some may have hyperopia and not realize it. As people age, it becomes more difficult to ignore, and it’s only when they seek treatment for presbyopia, an inability to see up close that’s common in older adults, that they get the proper corrective lenses.
Hyperopia symptoms are similar to those of other refractive errors, including:
- Blurry vision when looking at near objects
- Ache or burning sensations in your eyes
- Headaches after doing near-focus work
Your family history can guide the way your eyes develop. If your family members have hyperopia, you should see your optometrist for refractive error tests.
Nearsightedness and farsightedness are refractive errors occurring when your eye’s shape warps the light that enters your eye. When your eye doesn’t focus light correctly on your retina, it results in blurry vision. These distortions can develop when your eyeball is:
- Too long or too short
- Too curved or too flat
Both myopia and hyperopia can also develop in adulthood in those with diabetes or other health conditions. Changes in blood pressure typically accompany adult-onset refractive errors.
Children may struggle to communicate their vision problems. Their behaviour will be the most significant indicator to adults that something’s not right. Behaviours that signal to parents their child is struggling with myopia can include:
- Constant squinting
- Lack of awareness of distant or near objects
- Excessive blinking
- Sitting close to televisions or screens
- Rubbing their eyes
- Tired eyes or headaches during near-vision tasks like computer work, writing, or reading
- Holding books, tablets, or phones at a distance
In some cases, children may develop strabismus if hyperopia isn’t detected or treated early.
An eye exam and proper corrective lenses can help your children enjoy their favourite activities, sports, or hobbies and support academic performance.
Optometrists can perform simple tests your child can understand to diagnose vision problems like myopia and hyperopia.
Blurry vision may be common, but you don’t need to live with it. Corrective lenses like glasses and contact lenses can help improve the quality of your vision. Visit View Pointe Vision + Style in Winnipeg for an eye exam to test for refractive errors, ocular diseases, and changes to your eye health.