Refractive errors, such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia, are found in approximately 20% of children and are typically genetic. While these refractive errors can cause headaches, eye strain, and other unpleasant side effects, medium and high myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia, can lead to serious eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other conditions, if untreated. That being said, childhood intervention and ongoing monitoring can drastically reduce the risks of serious eye conditions developing and aid in stopping the progression of severe myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia.
What Causes Refractive Errors?
Your eye has two parts that focus images: the cornea (the clear, dome-shaped front surface of your eye) and the lens (a clear structure suspended behind the iris of the eye). In a normally shaped eye, both focusing elements have a perfectly smooth curvature that enables them to bend all incoming light to make a sharply focused image directly on the retina, at the back of your eye. If your cornea or lens isn't evenly and smoothly curved, light rays aren't refracted properly, and you have a refractive error.
At Normandy Optical, we offer a full range of eye care services to children and adults with refractive errors. Since 1949, our eye care center has been providing the Metro-Detroit area with quality eye care that can only come from the best opticians, optometrists, and other eye care professionals. We have multiple locations around Michigan to conveniently serve you. Schedule an appointment with our optometrists today!
Myopia occurs when a distant image of an object becomes focused in front of the retina, instead of on the retina, making the object appear blurry/out of focus. Myopia is the most common type of refractive error seen in children and affects approximately 5 billion people worldwide. The long-term effects of medium and high myopia in childhood can lead to serious eye conditions, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Progressive myopia continues to worsen and causes deterioration as a child ages.
While there isn't a cure for myopia, there are several treatments available that can help slow the spread of myopia, improve symptoms of myopia, and reduce the risks of long-term, serious vision conditions.
Symptoms of myopia may include:
Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
The need to squint to see clearly
Headaches caused by eye strain
What Causes Myopia?
Myopia occurs when the shape of your eyeball is too long or the cornea (the protective outer layer of your eye) is too curved. This causes light that enters the eye to bend incorrectly. Images focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina, which causes blurred vision.
Myopia is commonly believed to be due to genetics. Nearsightedness tends to run in families. If one of your parents is nearsighted, your risk of developing the condition is increased. The risk is even higher if both parents are nearsighted.
Most cases of myopia found during childhood can be treated non-surgically with corrective eyeglasses, special eye drops, contact lenses, and other methods, such as OrthoK.
Multifocal Eyeglasses - Depending on the severity, they may only be needed during certain activities, such as watching TV.
Atropine Eye Drops - Regular, low doses of atropine eye drops can slow down the progression of myopia in children by approximately 50%.
Multifocal Contact Lenses - Soft, multifocal contact lenses, such as MiSight, can change the overall focus of the eyes, which can help slow the progression of myopia. A recent study showed that multifocal contact lenses can lead to around a 70% reduction in Myopia progression.
OrthoK (Orthokeratology) - Wearing specially designed gas permeable contact lenses during sleep at night to help gently change the cornea.
Individuals with hyperopia may be able to clearly see objects that are far away but objects nearby may be blurry. Hyperopia occurs in approximately 5 to 10 percent of Americans, and like myopia, is typically genetic. When hyperopia is severe, this can put children at risk for amblyopia, one of the most common causes of loss of vision in children and young adults.
Symptoms of hyperopia may include:
Blurry visions when looking at nearby objects
The need to squint to see clearly
General eye discomfort
Eye strain, including burning eyes, and aching in or around the eyes
Headache after doing close tasks, such as reading, writing, computer work, or drawing
What Causes Hyperopia
Farsightedness occurs when your eyeball is shorter than normal or your cornea is curved too little. Hyperopia focuses images behind the retina instead of on the retina, making images appear blurry/out of focus.
Hyperopia can be corrected in most cases with regular vision screenings and corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses, or vision correction surgery such as LASIK.
Astigmatism is when the cornea or lens is curved more steeply in one direction than it is in another. Abnormal curvature of a person's cornea is called corneal astigmatism, while abnormal curvature of the lens is called lenticular astigmatism. Instead of focusing at a single point, light rays passing through an astigmatic cornea will focus at two or more locations. This results in blurred or distorted vision.
Unlike myopia or hyperopia, astigmatism can affect your vision at any distance, near or far. However, an individual can have astigmatism along with myopia or hyperopia. Severe astigmatism in children can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye) if untreated.
The symptoms of astigmatism may differ in each person, and some people don’t have any symptoms at all.
Symptoms of astigmatism may include:
Blurry, distorted, or fuzzy vision at all distances
Difficulty seeing at night
The need to squint to see clearly
What Causes Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common condition, as no one's eyes are as round as a perfect sphere. Genetics plays a big factor in astigmatism and it's often present at birth, although it may develop later in life or occur as a result of an eye injury or disease.
Astigmatism is measured in diopters (the optical power of a lens). An eye without astigmatism has a diopter of 0. With astigmatism, it has a diopter greater than 0.5. Treatment isn’t usually necessary for a slight astigmatism, but contacts or glasses might be needed for a diopter measurement of 1.5 or higher. Treatment can include corrective eyeglasses and contact lenses, OrthoK, or refractive surgery.
Presbyopia is the gradual worsening of vision as a person ages, usually affecting individuals aged 40 to 50 years or older. It can be accompanied by myopia or hyperopia and treated with corrective lenses or laser surgery.
Symptoms may seem worse if you are tired or are in an area with dim lighting.
Symptoms of presbyopia may include:
The need to hold reading material farther away to make the letters clearer
Blurry vision at normal reading distance
Eye strain or headache after doing close tasks, such as reading
What Causes Presbyopia?
Presbyopia occurs due to changes in the thickness and flexibility of the natural lens inside the eye.
There is no cure for presbyopia, but the goal of treatment is to compensate for the inability of your eyes to focus on nearby objects. Treatment options include reading glasses, bifocals, contact lenses, refractive surgery, and lens implants.
Metro-Detroit Refractive Eye Exam
Normandy Optical's team of experienced eye doctors is knowledgeable in diagnosing, treating, and managing a wide range of ocular diseases and refractive errors in patients of all ages. With multiple locations throughout Michigan, we are ready to serve you. If you or your child need help managing myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia, schedule an appointment today at one of our Metro-Detroit eye care centers!