Nearsighted vs. Farsighted: What Do They Mean? Skip to main content

March 03, 2022

By: Jeffrey Martin, MD

Nearsighted vs. Farsighted: What Do They Actually Mean?

Blurry reading chart displaying nearsightedness with glasses making a section of the chart clear

More than 11 million Americans have common vision problems that can be corrected with the use of prescriptive eyewear such as glasses or contact lenses. These conditions are known as refractive errors and they occur when the eye doesn’t correctly bend, or refract, light as it enters the eye. The most common refractive errors include nearsighted and farsighted. Nearsighted means your vision is blurry far away, and farsighted means your vision is blurry up close.

What Does Nearsighted Mean?

Nearsightedness happens when the eyeball is longer than it needs to be and the eye is unable to focus the light coming in. The object you are looking at focuses before the retina so objects that are far away appear blurry. Another word for nearsighted is myopia. Nearsightedness can develop at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in school-age children. In most patients, nearsightedness levels out in early adulthood, but there are types of myopia where the patient’s vision never stabilizes. It continues to get progressively worse throughout life.

What Does Farsighted Mean?

Hyperopia is another word for farsighted. It just means your vision is blurry up close, but clear at a distance. Just how nearsightedness is caused by a lengthened eyeball, farsightedness is caused by a shortened eyeball. This makes the light focus past the retina. This makes it difficult to focus on the computer or read a book. Children who are farsighted may have a hard time finishing work at school because they can’t see properly up close. Farsightedness isn’t as common as nearsightedness, but it is still quite common. It often feels like a headache or eye strain before the patient realizes their vision is actually blurry.

Nearsightedness and Farsightedness are Treatable

Glasses and contacts are the most common ways to correct vision problems. You can even fix your blurry vision with LASIK. There are ways to live without vision problems and without contacts or glasses! Our ophthalmologists are trained in vision correction surgery, and they work hard to give every patient a great experience and even greater vision.

Contact SightMD today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors to discuss your vision health at one of our convenient locations!