Most people with visual difficulties are either nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism—or even a combination of all three. But what’s the difference between these eye conditions? In short, farsightedness is the ability to only clearly see objects that are far away, while nearsightedness means the ability to see things nearby with relative clarity—but these differences can be hard to remember.
Whether you’re getting ready for a check-up or preparing for your first visit to the eye doctor, knowing the difference between these common eye conditions can help you prepare. Read below to learn more about nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as how they’re treated.
A simple way to see if you are nearsighted or farsighted is to test which objects in your vision are blurriest.
First, rest your eyes for a few moments—this means looking away from any screens and maybe even closing your eyes for a few minutes.
Next, try seeing something up close; grab a book or a magazine, for example. If the words are blurry, or if you have a headache after trying to read, you may be farsighted.
Then try looking at something far away, ideally from a distance of 10 feet or more. Can you see the sign across the street, or trees in the distance? If these are blurry or hard to see, you may be nearsighted.
It’s possible that you have difficulty seeing things both far away and nearby, in which case you may be both nearsighted and farsighted. If your vision bothers you, make an appointment with an optometrist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is an eye condition in which you can see nearby objects clearly, but faraway objects appear fuzzy or blurry. Nearsightedness belongs to a category of eye conditions known as refractive errors. Refractive errors occur when the shape of your eye does not bend light correctly, resulting in a blurred image.
Corrective treatments for nearsightedness include:
Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is another type of refractive error. Hyperopia occurs when close-up objects look blurry. You can be farsighted at varying degrees, depending on your eyes’ ability to focus on close-up objects. If you can only clearly see objects that are very far away, you’re severely farsighted.
The following treatments are available for farsightedness:
If you feel you or your child may be suffering from refractive errors of the kind described above, make sure to reach out to an optometrist for a comprehensive eye examination. With a proper examination, you and your optometrist can proceed to determine which treatment options work best for you and your lifestyle.