Nearsightedness (Myopia) vs. Farsightedness (Hyperopia)

Understanding Myopic and Hyperopic Vision Issues

Myopia and hyperopia, more often referred to as nearsightedness and farsightedness, respectively, are common vision conditions that affect a large portion of the American population. 

Knowing and understanding the differences between these two conditions can help you identify them and bring any concerns to your eye doctor. Getting an eye exam if you have any signs of one of these conditions can help you find the right treatment quickly, alleviating discomfort and strain that could damage your eyes over time.

When it comes to near- and farsightedness, the terms are often confused and mixed up. The best way to remember which one is which is that you say what a person has.

Nearsighted (Myopia)

If a person is nearsighted, that means that they can see well up close and struggle to see at a distance. They’re able to see things near to them clearly and, therefore, they are nearsighted.

Learn more about nearsightedness (myopia) →

Farsighted (Hyperopia)

On the other hand, if a person is farsighted, that means that they cannot see well up close and see at a distance with ease. They’re able to see clearly far away and, therefore, they are farsighted.

Learn more about farsightedness (hyperopia or hypermetropia ) →

Who Should be Tested for Nearsightedness and Farsightedness?

All children should be tested for nearsightedness and farsightedness by an eye doctor before the age of four. The earlier they can be tested, the more proactive you can be about addressing vision issues while their eyes are undergoing key stages of development.

Kids don’t have anybody else’s eyes to compare with and will roll with what they have, oblivious to what vision should be like. If uncorrected vision issues are not identified during these early formative periods of social, cognitive, and visual development, opportunities may be lost forever. 

All children should ideally have their eyes tested every year, even if they scored perfectly on their previous eye exam. Kids’ bodies grow constantly, and their eyes are part of their body, so there’s no reason to suspect that their eyes are stable and not growing too. 

When any signs of farsightedness or nearsightedness are displayed (such as headaches, falling behind in school, squinting, or vision complaints), don’t wait for the year to roll around… instead, get them in immediately so that no opportunities are lost.

How Can I Tell if I’m Farsighted or Nearsighted?

Getting a regular eye exam, especially if you’re experiencing any difficulty focusing or any discomfort, is highly recommended.

Getting tested and knowing the difference between the signs and symptoms of these two conditions is the best way to be proactive in monitoring your vision and being on the lookout for myopia or hyperopia. 

If you do find that you have one of these conditions, you can talk to your eye doctor to get a valid prescription for contact lenses. Then, come to us for the top quality contacts at the lowest prices, always with free delivery.

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What are the Symptom Differences Between Nearsightedness and Farsightedness?

Being that they are essentially opposite conditions, there are of course key differences between myopia and hyperopia. This is often first clear within the symptoms that someone experiences when they begin to notice vision issues.

Nearsighted Symptoms

Nearsighted people can see near, and struggle to see things far away. Signs of  nearsightedness include:

  • Squinting
  • Tilting or turning the head
  • Complaints of not seeing the board in school
  • Moving closer to the TV or objects to see them better
  • Just not being impressed with the view of the world around us

If you can only see clearly within a few feet of your body, obviously the potential to learn about the world around you is limited.

Farsighted Symptoms

Farsighted people have to use their focus muscles in their eyes all the time. They never get to rest. Instead of relaxing when looking far away (as it is supposed to be) a farsighted person has to focus extra to do so. They may see far just fine, but have to work to do it. 

When a farsighted person looks up close, instead of needing less focusing power as expected, they also have to put extra effort into focusing as if they were out of focus for far viewing. 

These two amounts of focus requirements add together throughout a day, and create a bunch of extra demand on the focus muscles. Sometimes (but not always), the eye has the ability to fight through the extra focus requirement and see fine, but at a price. 

The price is overworking the focus system. This tends to reveal itself subtly in ways that may go unrecognized at first. Farsighted people, even if they can read, tend to have difficulty with concentration and comprehension associated with reading. Therefore, reading sometimes becomes frustrating and farsighted people may tend to avoid reading or dislike school and education. 

Obviously, these signs are difficult to recognize, especially when there are no visual complaints. However, other more obvious signs that may show up in farsightedness include:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Difficulty maintaining focus
  • Loss of place while reading
  • Increased blur, especially associated with reading or computer use or within hours after doing so

Is Nearsighted or Farsighted More Common?

Nearsightedness, or myopia is more common than farsightedness.

Myopia impacts an estimated 30% of the U.S. population [1], where hyperopia only affects an estimated 5 – 10% of the U.S. population [2].

How is Nearsightedness and Farsightedness Corrected?

The remedy for either one of these conditions is similar, just in the opposite direction. To focus properly, the focal point of light should meet at a part of the eye called the fovea. This comes down to the contacts “power” that’s found on a lens prescription.

For someone who is nearsighted, they need to move the focus point in their eye “BACKWARD” to the fovea, so in a minus (-) direction. Therefore, they need a corrective lens (glasses or contact lens) that is preceded by a minus sign (such as -2.25 sph), which means that the point of focus will move backward 2.25 diopters. 

For someone who is farsighted, they need to move the focus point in their eye “FORWARD” to the fovea, so in a plus (+) direction. Therefore, they need a corrective lens (glasses or contact lens) that is preceded by a plus sign (such as +2.25 sph), which means that the point of focus will move forward 2.25 diopters.

Can Contact Lenses Be Worn for Nearsightedness and Farsightedness?

Contact lenses can be used for both nearsightedness and farsightedness. We recommend that contacts ALWAYS be used in conjunction with glasses, and never alone as a replacement for glasses. Just be sure to talk to your eye doctor when considering contacts because contacts and glasses prescriptions may differ.

Contacts are a safe way to correct vision for all ages, as long as proper care and wear protocol is followed. Major companies like Acuvue, Alcon, Bausch & Lomb, and Coopervision all make contact lenses to treat myopia and hyperopia. 

We recommend daily disposable for safety and simplicity if your budget allows, but what will ultimately determine your choice of brand will likely be your lifestyle and your discussion with your eye doctor. 

Then make sure you shop online at DeliverContacts.com for the top brands at the lowest prices with free delivery!

Article Sources ↓

Deliver Contacts references research from industry experts and reputable industry publishers to support claims or data in our content when applicable.

  1. American Optometric Association - Myopia (nearsightedness)
    Accessed: November 15, 2022
  2. National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Farsightedness
    Accessed: November 17, 2022

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