What are refractive errors of the eye? How it can be treated

Refractive Errors of Eye - Sriramakrishnahospital

Light is refracted (bent) differently by each of your eyes, which plays a role in how you see the world around you. If you need glasses or contacts to correct the blurriness of distant or up-close objects, there is a refractive defect in your eyes. 

Blurred vision results from a refractive error, which occurs when the eye cannot focus correctly, and the retina does not get a sharp image. This article highlights various refractive errors and ways to treat the condition.

Refractive errors – an overview of the condition:

Refractive errors are a vision problem that makes it hard to see things. They happen when your eye’s shape makes it hard for light to focus correctly on your retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye). Most people who have trouble seeing have refractive errors.

The cornea and lens of a normally refracted eye work together to direct the eye’s incoming light rays precisely where they need to reach the retina. A clear picture is formed and sent to the brain in this way. 

The ciliary muscle, located in the middle layer of the eye (the vascular layer), controls accommodation, which changes the lens shape to focus images at different distances. However, images are blurry when viewed through a refractive error-affected eye. The world could appear a little blurry if you do this.

The common refractive errors of eye symptoms include:

  • Vision problems, either blurring of distant things or blurring of close ones, or both.
  • The overactivity of the ciliary muscles causes a headache.
  • Eye strain
  • Having to frown and squint to see something
  • Blinking too much

Giving you an overview of the common refractive errors that are diagnosed:

There are different types of refractive errors in the human eye; these errors develop over time and can worsen immediately. Below are some of the more common ones:

Myopia (Nearsightedness):

Myopic eyes have trouble focusing on faraway objects, yet usually, they focus on those close by. For instance, if you suffer from nearsightedness, you may only be able to read roadside signs once you are very close to them, perhaps just outside your car window.

When one’s eye develops too long from front to back, nearsightedness is common. Too much curvature in the cornea or lens can induce nearsightedness.

Around the age of 10, most children begin to experience the onset of nearsightedness.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness):

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, makes it challenging to view nearby objects. It’s the antithesis of nearsightedness. You may be able to read the words on a screen across the room well if you have farsightedness, but it won’t be easy to read the notes you’re making on your laptop that is directly in front of you.

Farsightedness is caused by the length of the eye becoming excessively short relative to its width. Your cornea or lens may be too flat; another possible culprit (is not being curved enough).

In most cases, farsightedness is a genetic trait.

Presbyopia (Age-related farsightedness):

Presbyopia refers to age-related farsightedness, which develops as one gets older. Presbyopia makes it difficult to view nearby objects, similar to how farsightedness makes it difficult to see distant objects. Having to read more minor texts is a common sign of ageing.


If you have astigmatism, you may notice a blurring effect on distant things. Eyes are typically round. The astigmatic eye can be described as having the form of a football or the back of a spoon. When this happens, the rays of light that reach your retina are more curved and distorted than they should be.

The reasons why you may experience refractive errors:

Three aspects of eye anatomy become primary causes of refractive errors, or the eye’s inability to refract or focus light precisely on the retina.

Eye length:

Too much eye length results in nearsightedness because light focuses in front of the retina. When light reaches the retina, it is not focused correctly if the eye is too short. This results in hyperopia, or farsightedness.

Cornea curvature:

When your cornea is not perfectly shaped, it leads to astigmatism, adding that if your cornea is thinner than usual, it can lead to a condition called glaucoma, a common eye disorder in older people. Early diagnosis and immediate glaucoma treatment can avoid permanent damage. 

How is the treatment for refractive errors recommended?

Before undergoing the treatment, an ophthalmologist suggests a couple of tests as a part of refractive error diagnosis. Commonly performed tests include:

  • Distance vision evaluation by an eye chart.
  • The prescription for eyeglasses is determined through a refraction test.
  • Examination of the eye’s internal anatomy using a slit lamp.

Here’s what involves in the treatment for refractive errors:

Refractive errors treatment aims to restore normal or near-normal vision. After a thorough eye exam, our expert ophthalmologists will work with you to select the best pair of corrective lenses. Eyeglasses with prescription or contact lenses placed directly on the cornea can correct any refractive defect.

The choice of contact or non-contact lenses is a matter of personal preference, except for very young children, for whom they are not suggested. The benefits of the various options will be something you and your doctor can talk about. Uncorrected refractive errors can also lead to disturbances in regular life, especially in children and adults, as they have an active life. It is important to visit an eye doctor to avoid serious complications.


  • A person’s eyesight can be improved with the help of eyeglasses because they alter the path of the light entering the eye and hitting the retina. 
  • Before, thick lenses were necessary for people with severe nearsightedness or farsightedness. 
  • Thinner lenses are now available for practically every prescription from lens makers. 
  • Modern lenses, such as bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses (sometimes called multifocal lenses), can correct both near and farsightedness in a single lens, making them ideal for those who suffer from both myopia and presbyopia.

Contact lens:

It is possible to rectify the refractive error with small, bowl-shaped pieces of hard or soft plastic placed directly on the eyeball. Your ophthalmologist can fit you for contacts as part of your annual eye checkup.

Eye surgery:

Eye surgeries like LASIK and SMILE have recently gained popularity as people seek a permanent alternative to glasses and contact lenses. 

Outlook of the condition:

A refractive defect is one of the most prevalent issues with people’s eyes. Your eye doctor will work with you to discover a remedy for your refractive problem that restores your clear vision. Even if you don’t think your eyesight has altered, it’s still important to schedule regular appointments with an eye doctor in Coimbatore. If you already have a refractive problem, it could get worse with even minor changes to your eyes or eyesight.

refractive errors of the eye- Sriramakrishnahospital

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