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Nearsighted vs Farsighted: What’s the Difference

Chances are, you or some of your friends and relatives wear eyeglasses due to being nearsighted or farsighted. But what does that really mean?

When you’re nearsighted, your ability to clearly see an object that is close up is better than if it were far away. For instance, reading a book is clear but reading a road sign isn’t. If you’re farsighted, it’s the opposite, which explains why you might need reading glasses but are cleared to drive without them.

What is Nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness, also called myopia, causes distant objects and people to appear blurry.

It occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved, causing light to reach a point of focus before it reaches the retina instead of directly on the retina.

The vast majority of school-aged children, teens, and young adults who need glasses are diagnosed with myopia, which typically begins in childhood and may advance until the late teen years, when the eyes usually stop growing.

People with nearsightedness might need eyeglasses, contacts, or corrective surgery to correct their eyesight. There are a few different ways to manage myopia. The different treatment options include:

  • Orthokeratology (also called corneal refractive therapy) is a non-surgical option for gradually and gently reshaping the cornea
  • Atropine eye drops, which effectively slow the progression of myopia
  • Wearing multifocal eyeglasses or soft contact lenses limits the progression of myopia, compared to single vision glasses or contact lenses.

What is Farsightedness?

Farsightedness, also known as hyperopia, is when a person can see distant objects clearly, but close-up objects appear out of focus.

Farsightedness occurs when the eyeball is too short or the cornea’s curve is too flat, causing light to reach a point of focus beyond the retina instead of on the retina.

Farsightedness is often an issue from birth, but it can take a while to diagnose since a developing brain has the ability to adapt. Children with hyperopia may develop an eye turn or lazy eye.

As with nearsightedness, people with farsightedness can benefit from eyeglasses such as bifocals or transitional lenses, contacts, or corrective surgery. Some people might need to wear glasses and contacts all the time while others might need them only for computer work, reading, and other up-close tasks.

A comprehensive eye exam tests for myopia and hyperopia. Contact Browz Eyeware in Calgary to schedule your eye exam so that you can start to see clearly.

At Browz Eyeware, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 587-600-0644 or book an appointment online to see one of our Calgary eye doctors.

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Trouble Seeing at Night? All About Night Blindness

At this time of year when the sun sets earlier, many people are affected by night blindness. Night blindness or nyctalopia refers to difficulty seeing at night or in poor or dim lighting situations. It can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, sometimes completely benign and sometimes as a symptom of a more serious eye disease. So, if you are experiencing trouble seeing in low light, especially if it is a sudden onset of the condition, it is worth having it checked out by your eye doctor.

Signs of Night Blindness

The main indication of night blindness is difficulty seeing well in dark or dim lighting, especially when transitioning from a brighter to a lower light environment, like walking from outside into a dimly lit room. Many experience difficulty driving at night, particularly with the glare of streetlights or the headlights from oncoming traffic.

Causes of Night Blindness

Night blindness is a condition that can be present from birth, or caused by a disease, injury or even a vitamin deficiency. In order to treat the condition, your eye doctor will need to determine the cause. Here are some of the common causes:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia) – many people with nearsightedness (or difficulty seeing objects in the distance) experience some degree of night blindness, especially when driving.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa – a genetic condition in which the pigmented cells in the retina break down causing a loss of peripheral vision and night blindness.
  • Cataracts – a clouding of the natural lens of the eye causing vision loss.
  • Glaucoma – a group of diseases that involve damage to the optic nerve and subsequent vision loss.
  • Vitamin A Deficiency – vitamin A or retinol is found in greens (kale, spinach, collards, broccoli etc.), eggs, liver, orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, mango etc.), eggs and butter. Your doctor may also prescribe Vitamin A supplements if you have a serious deficiency.
  • Eye Surgery – refractive surgery such as LASIK sometimes results in reduced night vision as either a temporary or sometimes permanent side effects.
  • Injury – an injury to the eye or the part of the brain that processes vision can result in reduced night vision.
  • Uncorrected Visual Error – many people experience better daytime vision as the pupils are smaller and provide greater depth of field to compensate for any vision problems. At night, the pupils dilate, so blur is increased from uncorrected nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or distortions/aberrations on the cornea from refractive surgery. Even a slight prescription for someone who may not need glasses during the day can make a significant improvement in night vision.
  • Eyewear Problems – even if your vision correction is accurate, badly scratched glasses or poor/defective lens coatings can also cause trouble seeing at night. Special lens coatings are now available on glasses for night time and foggy conditions.

Treatment for Night Blindness

Some causes of night blindness are treatable, while others are not, so the first step is a comprehensive eye exam to determine what the root of the problem is. Treatments range from simply purchasing a special pair of glasses, lens coatings or contact lenses to wear at night (for optical issues such as myopia) to surgery (to correct the underlying problem such as cataracts), to medication (for diseases like glaucoma). In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you avoid driving at night. During the day, it may help to wear sunglasses or a brimmed hat to ease the transition indoors.

As with any change in vision, it is critical to get your eyes checked as soon as you begin to experience symptoms, and on a routine basis even if you’re symptom-free. Not only will this improve your chances of detecting and treating a vision-threatening disease if you have one brewing, but treatment will also keep you more comfortable seeing in low-light, and keep you and your loved ones safe at night or in poor light conditions.

At Browz Eyeware, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 587-600-0644 or book an appointment online to see one of our Calgary eye doctors.

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