Myopia vs. Hyperopia: How to Understand the Difference

Myopia and hyperopia are the two most common eye problems. Although the types of vision problems they cause are different, they’re similar conditions as they both are refractive errors that exist because of irregularities in the physical shape and size of the eye.

The lens of your eye is there to focus light onto the retina (the back of the eye). It won’t be able to perform this correctly if there are irregularities in the shape or size of the eye.

In this article, we’ll go over the differences between myopia vs. hyperopia.

What is Myopia?

Let’s start off by defining what exactly is myopia (also known as nearsightedness).

Myopia is the most common refractive eye problem in the world. It’s also called nearsightedness because people with this condition can see near objects clearly but far away objects appear blurry.

Myopia occurs when the cornea (the front part of the human eye) refracts the light in a way that it falls short of the retina, landing in front of it.

In most cases, it occurs because the eyeball has grown too long. This causes the focus point of the light to fall short of the back of the eye. When the light converges to this exact point, people see clearly.

A person who has myopia is called a myope.

What is Hyperopia?

Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, is the opposite of myopia. In this case, the person can see distant objects clearly, but near objects appear blurred. For example, if you have hyperopia, you probably don’t need glasses to drive your car or watch TV from across the room, but you do need them to read a book or use your laptop. The cause for this is the eyeball being too short, causing light to focus behind the retina, as opposed to directly on the retina (normal), or in front of it (myopia).

Someone with hyperopia is a hyperope.

Myopia vs Hyperopia – The Difference in Corrective Lenses

So, what’s the difference?

A simple vision exam can diagnose both problems. Refer to your local ophthalmologist so that he can test your vision. Eye exams are painless and easy and allow your doctor to prescribe the number of diopters you need to correct your vision.
For myopes, the lens prescribed is a “minus” lens, as it has negative diopters. In this case, the lens is concave so it can move the light further down the eye and make it focus exactly on the back of the eye (retina). Remember, the myope’s eye is longer so the retina is further than normal.

Hyperopes on the other hand, get prescribed a “plus” lens, which is convex. Since their problem is that the light is focusing behind the retina, these lenses will bring the focus back to the retina and produce perfect clear vision.

Conclusion

Being farsighted or nearsighted both affect your ability to see clearly. The difference between myopia and hyperopia is whether you have difficulty seeing up close or at a distance. Hyperopia (farsightedness) makes it hard to see things that are close, and Myopia (nearsightedness) makes it difficult to see things that are far away. It’s possible to fix/manage both conditions with the use of corrective lenses such as glasses or contacts, as well as surgery.

Understanding the difference between myopia vs. hyperopia can be difficult, so we hope we have cleared up things for you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to leave them in the comments below!

Read this article to learn more about what causes myopia.

Hugo Moreira

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