Coming to terms with vision terms
If you've ever been told by an eye care professional that you need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, odds are that your particular vision problem was explained. However, medical terms can seem complicated, and it's not unusual to arrive home after the eye exam feeling confused. Need a little clarity? Check out this mini-glossary for some insight about sight!
- Refractive errors are vision conditions that are corrected by eyeglasses and contact lenses, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.
- Nearsightedness, aka myopia, is a condition where objects up close appear clear, while objects far away appear blurry.
- Farsightedness, aka hyperopia, is a common type of refractive error where distant objects may be seen more clearly than objects that are near. However, people experience farsightedness differently. For people with significant farsightedness, vision can be blurry for objects at any distance.
- Astigmatism is a condition in which the eye does not focus light evenly onto the retina, resulting in images appearing blurry and stretched.
- Presbyopia is an age-related condition that affects most adults over age 35, making it difficult to read small print and focus up close.
The signs and symptoms of refractive errors include:
- Double vision
- Eye strain
- Glare around bright lights
What's the deal with drugstore reading glasses?
If you find yourself squinting at a text message or wondering why the entree options on a menu appear blurry, it might be tempting to consider buying an inexpensive pair of reading glasses from the neighborhood drugstore. These "readers," as they're called, work fine for some people but not for everyone. So if you find yourself unable to clearly make out the tiny directions on a medicine bottle, make an appointment with your eye care provider for an eye exam, then decide whether "readers" or prescription eyeglasses are right for you.
- One-size-fits-all reading glasses do not work well for people who have a different prescription in each eye.
- For people who don't normally need vision correction but on rare occasions need help focusing, readers are adequate.
- If you require strong vision correction, prescription glasses are the best choice to meet your vision-care needs.
- If you wear readers every day, prescription strength glasses are probably a better choice for the long term, because they last longer and provide better vision that's tailored to your needs.
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