• Faulty vision

The Difference Between Long and Short Sightedness

  • 5 Minutes reading time
  • Created on 30 April 2024

Short sightedness and long sightedness are two different types of visual impairments. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these two conditions, what causes them, and the various treatment options available to you.

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What is Long Sightedness?

People with long sightedness, also known as hyperopia or farsightedness, can usually see far-away objects clearly but struggle to see nearby objects. However, with severe hyperopia, vision into the distance can also be blurred. Long sightedness occurs when the eyeball is slightly shorter than normal, which is referred to as axial hyperopia. In some cases, the lens and cornea may not be able to refract light rays strongly enough, which is called refractive hyperopia. This causes the image focused by the lens to appear behind the retina instead of on it, causing objects in close proximity to appear blurred.

There are various factors that can lead to long sightedness, including:

  • Genetic predisposition: Familial inheritance often plays a role in the development of long sightedness.

  • Ageing process: The ageing process can also contribute to long sightedness. As we age, the lens loses elasticity, making it harder to focus on close objects. This natural process, known as presbyopia, is a common form of long sightedness in people over 40 years old.

Besides blurry vision, some other common symptoms of long sightedness include headaches, eye strain, and fatigue.

What is Short Sightedness?

Short sightedness, also known as myopia or nearsightedness, occurs when distant objects are blurry, but you can see objects clearly up close. In addition to close-up vision being blurry, short sightedness can also cause eye strain and headaches, especially during activities such as reading that require clear vision up close.

Short sightedness can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Genetic predisposition: A family history of short sightedness can increase the risk of developing it.
  • Working close to screens: Working excessively close to screens could also cause short sightedness.
  • Not enough daylight: Not spending enough time outdoors can also play a role in causing short sightedness. Research has shown that children and adolescents who spend less time outdoors and more time in front of screens may be at a higher risk of developing short sightedness.
  • Congenital defects: Short sightedness is often a side effect, particularly in syndromes such as Marfan syndrome, Stickler syndrome, and Arachnodactyly. It can also be caused by health conditions such as diabetes.
  • Age: Short sightedness typically develops in childhood and often increases during growth as the eyeball lengthens. The development of short sightedness slows significantly after the age of 20 and often stops changing around the age of 25 when physical growth is complete.

Can You Be Long and Short Sighted?

If you’re experiencing vision problems, you may have questions like am I long or short sighted?

The answer is yes, it’s possible to be short sighted (myopic) and long sighted (hyperopic) at the same time. This can be the case, for example, with anisometropia. In such cases, those affected have difficulty seeing clearly both far away and up close. With anisometropia, there are clear differences between the optical defects of the left and right eyes. It’s possible for one eye to be short sighted while the other is long sighted, or one eye may be only slightly long sighted while the other is severely affected. In many cases, those who have suffered from myopia since childhood may also develop presbyopia. This can create a greater challenge for those affected as they have simultaneous problems with far and close vision.

Laser Eye Surgery for Long Sighted and Short Sighted Vision

If you’re experiencing long or short sightedness, laser eye surgery could be an effective long-term solution.

Laser treatments, such as Femto-LASIK and Trans-PRK are advanced methods that perform precise treatments on the cornea of ​​the eye to correct vision problems, such as short sightedness and long sightedness. These methods differ in terms of the recovery time, suitability, and treatment process.

In Femto-LASIK, a thin flap is cut on the surface of the cornea using a femtosecond laser. This flap (made up of tissue known as epithelium) is then opened up to reshape the cornea with another laser - an excimer laser. After the cornea is corrected, the flap is folded back where it heals naturally.

Trans-PRK is also known as “non-contact” or “surface-based” laser correction because it does not require a corneal flap to be created. During this procedure, the epithelium is removed, and then the cornea is reshaped. The epithelium then grows back on its own within a few days. Both treatments improve vision almost immediately and eliminate dependence on visual aids. It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is suitable for these treatments. Read our blog on laser eye suitability to learn more.

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Other Treatment Options

If laser eye surgery for long sightedness or short sightedness is not suitable for you, there are other treatment options available.

Visual Aids

Visual aids, like glasses and contact lenses, can be used to treat short sightedness and long sightedness. Regular eye tests are important to determine whether you have any vision problems and what corrective methods are most effective.

Glasses are an effective way to correct short sightedness and long sightedness. For short sightedness, concave lenses are used that bend light rays outwards so that they focus further back on the retina. For those with long sightedness, convex lenses are used to bend light rays slightly inwards.

Contact lenses are another popular option for correcting short sightedness and long sightedness. These work in the same way that glasses do, but they sit on the surface of the eye. There are different types of contact lenses, including daily, bi-weekly, and monthly. An ophthalmologist or optician can prescribe the right contact lenses for you, based on your prescription and preferences, as well as monitor the fit to ensure they’re comfortable and effective.

Lens Implantation

Lens implantation is a long-lasting solution that can be used to treat long and short sightedness. In this procedure, an artificial lens is placed in front of the eye’s natural lens, without replacing it. This procedure is able to be adjusted or reversed in the future, as it does not permanently alter the eye’s structure.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLA)

Refractive lens replacement is a similar option to lens implantation, in which the eye's natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens. This can treat short sightedness, long sightedness, and prevents cataracts. It’s typically suitable for patients aged 50 or over, however, younger people who have significantly high prescriptions and aren’t suitable for laser eye surgery may be eligible. The recovery time for this procedure will vary from person to person, but it usually takes around three to four days.

If you’re experiencing vision problems like short sightedness and long sightedness, there are plenty of corrective methods available, including laser eye surgery. If you want to learn more about laser eye treatments and suitability, we’re here for you! Visit the betterview website to book an appointment for a free, initial consultation.

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