Nearsightedness vs Farsightedness: How Can I Tell?

When your vision is working properly, you’re able to clearly see objects at varying distances. However, some conditions make it so our eyes have trouble focusing on either near or far objects—or in rare cases, both. These are known as refractive errors, and they interfere with the vision of more than 150 million Americans.

Two common refractive errors are nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). Nearsighted people have difficulty seeing objects at a distance. Things like street signs or billboards in the distance may appear blurry. On the opposite side of the spectrum, farsighted people have difficulty seeing nearby objects, such as reading this blog. 

Let’s explore more of the differences between these refractive errors and what solutions could help you see clearly again. 

What is Nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a common refractive eye condition that affects the ability to see distant objects clearly. People with nearsightedness typically have clear vision when objects are close to them but struggle to focus on things from afar.

What is Farsightedness?

Farsightedness, which is known as hyperopia, is also a common refractive eye condition. Unlike nearsightedness, where distant objects are blurry, farsightedness affects the ability to see close-up objects clearly such as reading a book. People with farsightedness are usually able to see distant objects with clear vision.

The Difference Between the Two: Nearsighted vs. Farsighted

The main difference between nearsighted vs. farsighted vision is one makes near objects appear blurry while the other makes distant objects appear blurry. But how does this happen? If you have farsightedness, your eyeball is either too short or has an abnormal curvature of the eye’s lens. When light passes through the lens, it is supposed to focus at a point directly on the retina. But farsightedness causes the light to focus beyond it, causing blurry vision. 

Nearsightedness is the result of your eyeball being too long or an abnormal curvature of the eye’s lens. When light enters the eye, the abnormal length causes light to not properly focus on the retina. Instead, the light is focused on a point in front of the retina. 

How  Are Refractive Errors Diagnosed

A routine eye exam is a great starting point for diagnosing vision issues. During your eye exam, the eye doctor will test your vision in several ways. You may be asked to read a vision chart while testing various lenses to see which one helps you see most clearly. 

Can You Have Both?

It rarely happens, but yes, you can be both nearsighted and farsighted. This condition is known as anisometropia, and it typically occurs when a person is nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other.  Although it’s a rare condition, there are several ways to overcome or even correct anisometropia through a combination of convex and concave lenses or surgery. Talk with your eye doctor about your options. 

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How to Prevent Common Vision Issues

Wouldn’t it be nice to never face vision issues? Although there’s no way to avoid some vision problems, there are certain habits and lifestyle changes you can make to help your chances. 

Eat Eye-Healthy Foods 

Did you know that some of the foods you eat regularly are beneficial to your eye health? For example, carrots are famous for helping your eyes because they are a great source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps your body produce Vitamin A, which significantly benefits your eye health, especially at night.  

Other foods that are good for your eyes include:

  • Fish & fish oil
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Citrus fruits
  • Leafy-greens
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Lean meats
  • Eggs 

Wear Sunglasses or Eye Protection

Spending some time in the sun is great for your overall health and well-being, but too much sun exposure to your eyes can have negative consequences. While our eyes do filter out most UV rays from the sun, some rays still slip through. Wearing sunglasses that block UV rays adds a layer of protection. So throw on a pair of shades before heading out the door on sunny days. 

Avoid Smoking

Smoking has been well documented for having negative effects on your overall health, including vision. Smoking can have serious consequences on your eye health, leading to the development of eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. 

How to Correct Refractive Errors


One of the first solutions your eye doctor may talk with you about his glasses. They are a simple and effective way to correct your refractive error. Following your eye exam, your doctor can accurately diagnose your condition and prescribe the correct lenses. 


Another common refractive error solution is contact lenses.  Contact lenses sit on the surface of your eye, correcting whatever refractive error you have and helping you clearly. Your eye doctor will be able to find a well-fitting lens for you following an eye exam. 

Laser Vision Surgery 

If neither glasses or contacts are the solutions for you, talk with your eye doctor about your surgical options. Surgeries like LASIK could be your answer. LASIK is non-invasive eye surgery that reshapes the top layer of your cornea, the clear front part of the eye. Following LASIK, most patients notice significant vision improvement, and over three to four weeks, it will continue to improve. 


Not every patient is a candidate for LASIK. However, other procedures like SMILE and PRK/ASA offer similar results. The best way to find out which laser eye surgery is best for you is through a free consultation

Discover Solutions for Nearsightedness & Farsightedness 

If you have a refractive error diagnosis and want to explore your surgical options, it’s important to pick an experienced surgeon. Clear Choice is home to highly-trained surgeons and doctors who are repeatedly recognized as being among the best in their field. Start with a free consultation today. 

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