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Myopia vs. Hyperopia: What’s the Difference?

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A young girl performing an eye exam at the optometrist's office to see if she has myopia (nearsightedness).

Myopia (nearsightedness) is an eye condition that causes blurry vision at a distance, while hyperopia (farsightedness) is an eye condition that causes blurry vision up close. 

Both myopia and hyperopia can affect people to varying degrees of severity and cause significant daily challenges. Regular adult eye exams and children’s eye exams can help you get a clear diagnosis for myopia and hyperopia— and corrective lenses to provide visual clarity. In some cases, myopia control may also be recommended to help children reduce the effects of myopia. 

Understanding Myopia & Hyperopia

What is Myopia?

Myopia occurs when the shape of your eye causes light to focus in front of your retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) rather than directly on it. As a result, people with myopia can see nearby objects clearly, but distant objects may appear blurry and out of focus.

The symptoms of myopia can include:

  • Blurry distance vision
  • Squinting to see clearly
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye strain

What is Hyperopia?

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is the opposite of myopia. When you have hyperopia, the light that enters your eye focuses behind your retina instead of directly on it, leading to blurry vision up close but clear vision at a distance.

The symptoms of hyperopia can include:

  • Blurry near vision
  • Eye strain 
  • Headaches after close-up work
  • Eye fatigue 

Causes of Myopia & Hyperopia

Myopia occurs when your eye becomes elongated or your cornea becomes too curved, causing light to focus in front of your retina. Several factors can play a role in the development of myopia, such as:

  • Genetics: Children with myopic parents may be more likely to develop myopia. 
  • Environmental influences: Spending more time outside can help prevent myopia. 

Myopia typically begins in early childhood, around age 6–7. As children grow and their eyes continue growing, myopia can worsen, leading to high myopia and an increased risk of developing other serious eye conditions later in life. 

Hyperopia occurs when your eye is too short or your cornea is too flat, causing light to focus at a point behind your retina. A combination of genetic and environmental factors can lead to hyperopia development. Many people who have hyperopia are born with it, but it may not cause vision problems until later. 

An older woman having issues reading her phone screen, so she is holding it far away from her vision. She could have hyperopia, also known as farsightedness.

Treatment for Myopia & Hyperopia

Myopia and hyperopia can be corrected and managed with early detection through eye exams. Some of the most common treatments for myopia are prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses

Corrective lenses can adjust how light enters your eyes, helping it focus correctly on your retina for near and far visual clarity. Myopia in children can progress over time, leading to the need for more powerful prescription lenses. Treatment for hyperopia also typically relies on corrective prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that alter how light enters the eye. 

The following myopia control treatments can also help slow or halt myopia progression in children:

  • Multifocal contact lenses that have 2 prescriptions for near and distance vision correction. 
  • MiSight contact lenses—daily disposable contact lenses designed to slow myopia progression.
  • Spectacle lenses with bifocal prescriptions designed to help slow myopia
  • Low-dose atropine eye drops

There are also laser eye surgery procedures that can provide long-term solutions for those seeking freedom from glasses or contact lenses. We can help you determine whether or not laser eye surgery may be right for you.

Key Differences Between Myopia & Hyperopia

Here are the key differences between these 2 common vision conditions:

  • Focusing point: With myopia, light focuses in front of the retina. With hyperopia, light focuses behind the retina.
  • Blurred vision: In myopia, distant objects appear blurry. In hyperopia, nearby objects appear blurry.
  • Near work: Individuals with myopia may excel at tasks that require close-up vision. Hyperopic individuals may struggle with close-up focused tasks, such as reading.
  • Age of onset: Myopia typically develops in childhood and may progress with age. Hyperopia can be present from birth but may become more noticeable in adulthood as your eye’s accommodation ability diminishes.
  • Corrective measures: Myopia treatment includes glasses, contact lenses, and myopia control measures. Hyperopia treatment includes glasses and contact lenses. Both conditions can be treated with laser eye surgery. 

Clear Vision with Comprehensive Eye Exams

Myopia and hyperopia are 2 different eye conditions that affect how we see the world around us. No 2 people experience vision problems the same way, and the right solution for one person may not be the best for another.

Understanding the differences between these conditions can be crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you squint at distant road signs or struggle with fine print up close, know that there are effective management and treatment options to help you see clearly. 

The eye doctors at Advance Eye Care Center can assess your vision, determine the presence and degree of myopia or hyperopia, and recommend suitable treatment options for your individual needs. Book an appointment today. 

Written by Myles Bokinac

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