Common Refractive Errors and How They Can Be Treated

Most vision problems are caused by four common refractive errors. If you are nearsighted, farsighted, have difficulty focusing, or are struggling with vision loss caused by the natural aging process, speak to an ophthalmologist about your options for vision correction. Here is an overview of common refractive errors and treatment options.

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Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. This causes problems in refraction, the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. Myopia is a condition where the distance between the cornea and the retina is too long, causing light rays to focus in front of the retina instead of on it. Also known as nearsightedness, myopia makes close objects appear clear while distant objects appear blurry.


Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a refractive error that occurs when the distance between the cornea and the retina is too short. This causes light rays to focus behind the retina, and hyperopia patients can see distant objects more clearly while they struggle to make out close objects. People experience farsightedness differently, and significant hyperopia can make objects appear blurry at any distance.


Astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea is misshapen and curved, causing light to focus unevenly on the retina. Patients who suffer from astigmatism usually complain of objects appearing blurry or stretched out.


As you age, your eye’s lens becomes less flexible. Presbyopia causes difficulty focusing on close objects. As with all refractive errors , presbyopia may be treated with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery such as LASIK. LASIK is a safe, affordable, and effective laser correction surgery that offers patients the chance to regain 20/20 vision.

If you live in New York City and want to learn more about your options for laser vision correction surgery, call Dr. Mark Hornfeld’s office at (212) 580-8881. Dr. Hornfeld offers a full range of ophthalmology services and specializes in LASIK surgery, cataract surgery, and refractive surgery.

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