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The eye “sees” by focusing light rays from an object of regard on to the retina. The retina is a thin layer in the back of the eye that transmits visual signals to the brain. When the light is not properly focused on the retina, refractive errors occur requiring corrective eyewear or refractive surgery to make vision clearer. Let's examine exactly what far and nearsightedness are, what kind of symptoms to look out for and what can be done to treat these vision impairments.

Hyperopia or farsightedness occurs when vision has a clear focus when looking off into the distance rather than close up. Farsightedness or hyperopia happens when the eye is shorter than normal. This shape causes images to be focused behind the retina. It is a common condition that is most often inherited. As a result, the lens of the eye must exert effort to focus the image on the retina. Presbyopia is commonly confused with Hyperopia; the difference being that Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the lens of the eye becomes less flexible. Seeing small details like words in a book or an online article, or adjusting focus between far-away and nearby objects becomes difficult. This condition is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 50. Both create the same kind of vision impairment.


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At first, symptoms may be undetectable or very slight. With age, increased difficulty seeing near objects may be noticed until eventually even distant objects appear blurred.

Myopia or nearsightedness occurs when vision has a clear focus up close than far distances. Since myopia is caused by the eye being longer than average, the light that is focused in the eye lands in front of the retina rather than on the retina. Like farsightedness, myopia can be inherited. It is often discovered when children are 8 to 12 years old. During adolescence, when the body is growing rapidly, nearsightedness can get worse but usually, between ages 20 and 40 there is little change. The most common symptoms of nearsightedness include blurred distance vision, frequent squinting of eyes, and eye strain or headaches from trying to focus.

An eye care professional can diagnose both far and nearsightedness with a comprehensive eye exam, the symptoms of which are easy to fix. This is usually done with common forms of vision correction, including prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses which are known to be the simplest, most common and affordable method of vision correction. Surgery is another option yet it can be expensive and may involve more risk than corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses. These options use either laser technology or small incisions to reshape the cornea of the affected eye. A lesser known method of eye correction called Orthokeratology, also requires a form of contact lenses. They differ in that the lenses reshape the cornea and they are worn at night while sleeping. Once the lenses are taken out, one is able to see without any other corrective eyewear for the entire day.

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