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The human eye is an amazing organ, but variables like age, overall health and lifestyle, can cause certain conditions to manifest in patients over time. The most common ones are related to how the eye handles light, which is known as refraction.
Put simply, refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. Vision occurs when light passes through the parts that make up the eye, first through the cornea and then the lens. The light is then focused on the retina, which converts the light-rays into messages sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The brain is then able to translate these images into vision.
For those with nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia, vision is distorted in some way. Objects may appear blurry or out of focus. Here’s a look at the most common visual impairments and what they can mean for patients:
- Nearsightedness (also called myopia) means objects may clearly up close, while those far away appear blurry. With nearsightedness, light comes to focus in front of the retina instead of on the retina.
- Farsightedness (also called hyperopia) means that for the patient distant objects may be seen more clearly than objects that are near.
- Astigmatism means the eye does not focus light evenly onto the retina. This can cause images to appear blurry and stretched out.
- Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the ability to focus up close is compromised. As the eye ages, the lens can no longer change shape enough to allow the eye to focus close objects clearly.
The good news is that these conditions can be easily detected and treated. We recommend that infants have their first eye exam at 6 months of age, and annually after that. Your Midwest Eye Consultants doctor can address any concerns you might have about your vision. Ultimately, what’s best for your eye health is that you have regular exams and take steps to protect your vision.