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What’s the difference between Nearsighted vs Farsighted?

Nearsighted vs Farsighted, Interesting Eye Articles

17 December 2022

Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are common causes of problems that affect vision. In this article, we will focus on the first two: nearsightedness and farsightedness. Before we compare the two, let’s get to know more about both conditions.

What is being nearsighted?

Also known as myopia, it is a common condition that causes objects to appear clear when they’re near, but those further away will be blurry and tougher to be made out. This condition usually develops during childhood and stabilizes as the person nears adulthood, between the ages of adulthood.

The image above is an example of vision with nearsightedness, where the glasses in front of you will be clear, but the scenery that’s far away will appear blurry.


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This is caused by the eye being longer than usual, therefore causing the light to fall in front of the retina rather than on it. As the light can’t be focused properly through the lens and cornea, it isn’t viewed in the same way as normal eyes are, which can be seen in the image. It may also be because your lens is too curved, which will throw your focus point off balance too.

A basic eye exam can confirm this condition, and it is usually corrected through glasses, refractive surgery, or contact lenses.

What increases the risk of nearsightedness?

Too much screen time
Children and adolescent that uses smartphones, laptops, and other smart devices for lengthy periods of time have a greater risk of developing this condition.

If one or both parents are nearsighted, then there is an increased risk that their child will also have this condition.

Close-up activities for extended periods of time
Too much reading or activities that involve having to be close up to an object will increase the risk of nearsightedness.

What are the signs and symptoms of nearsightedness?

● You have to squint to see things clearly.
● You have difficulty seeing things that are further away.
● You may have headaches.

If you have slight nearsightedness, you may not even notice any symptoms, but if your condition is severe, you’ll have a higher chance of developing other vision-related complications such as retinal detachment, cataracts, and glaucoma.

What is being farsighted?

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Also known as hyperopia, this is the opposite of being nearsighted. It means that you will be able to see objects that are further from you compared to those that are nearby, such as in the image above, where the phone being nearer to the person will be blurry but the scenery further away is clear. Depending on the severity, you may only be able to see objects clearly if they’re at a great distance, or not notice any difference at all.


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If your eyeball is shorter than usual, then the light will fall on the back of the retina rather than on it. This can be caused by a flat cornea; therefore light can’t be focused correctly when compared to a normal eyeball. From the diagram above, it can be seen that the light doesn’t fall on the correct place, along with the eyeball being shorter than usual.


What increases the risk of farsightedness?

Those above 40 years of age are at a greater risk of developing this condition, which may worsen until they reach 60.

Like nearsightedness, this condition can be inherited, with the chances increasing if both of your parents are farsighted.

What are the signs and symptoms of farsightedness?

● You are finding it difficult to read books, newspapers, or anything in front of you.
● You see things near you but they are blurry
● You have to squint to see things that are further away

If your condition is mild, you may not even notice any difference, but as it worsens, the symptoms will become more obvious. Common treatments include being prescribed eyeglasses and contact lenses. You may also opt for refractive surgery if your condition is mild or moderate.

What are the differences between them?

This video provides examples and explanations of the differences between nearsightedness and farsightedness, including different treatments, while the table below summarizes the differences between both conditions.

Nearsightedness (Myopia)

Farsightedness (Hyperopic)

The eyeball is longer than usual, causing light to be in front of the retina rather than on it.

The eyeball is shorter than usual, causing light to be at the back of the retina rather than on it.

Objects in front or near you will be clear, but those further away will be blurry.

Objects far away will be clear, but those near or in front of you will be blurry.

Minus lenses are prescribed to weaken eye power and push focusing light to the retina.

Plus lenses are prescribed to bend light towards the centre of the eye.

How serious are both conditions? Will I need medical aid?

Both conditions can cause inconveniences in you or your loved one’s daily life, and may even cause a variety of complications to arise such as:

Constant eyestrain or tired eyes
This is caused by repeated squinting to get a clearer look at objects that appear blurry to them, along with having to focus their eyes for longer periods of time, or with greater intensity.

Reduced quality of life
You or your loved ones may not be able to enjoy hobbies or participate in activities due to your vision. This can also affect you from performing daily tasks such as chores.

Poor academic performance
Students who are nearsighted or farsighted may experience problems in school, such as having problems reading and writing which can delay their progress. They may develop poor self-esteem and have issues interacting with their peers.

Endanger themselves and others
With an uncorrected or undiagnosed vision problem, you or your loved ones may put themselves and others at risk. In situations where they may be driving, operating heavy vehicles, or machinery, their impaired vision may cause complications to arise.

May lead to other conditions
Retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts, or worsened vision. These conditions are all serious and will need urgent medical care as they may lead to a loss of vision.

We strongly recommend you and your loved ones visit an ophthalmologist if you suspect even the slightest problem with your vision.

Contact us now to book an appointment for an extensive eye examination and consultation. Catch both near and farsightedness at their initial stages for a greater variety of treatments available.