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Refractive Errors

In order to understand how refractive surgery helps to correct vision, patients must understand how vision works. There are many factors that affect how clear or blurry an object appears to be. If an image is out of focus, it is usually due to a misshapen cornea.  
 
 
Emmetropia - When the shape of the cornea is normal, visual images are focused directly on the retina. This condition is called emmetropia. A patient with emmetropia will not have difficulties focusing on objects at any distance. Emmetropia does not require refractive treatment in any form. 
 
Myopia - When the cornea is too steep, visual images are focused in front of the retina. This condition is called nearsightedness or myopia. A patient with myopia will be unable to see objects at a distance, such as street signs, chalkboards, and television. Treatments for nearsightedness include glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. 
 
Hyperopia - When the cornea is too flat, visual images are focused behind the retina. This condition is called farsightedness or hyperopia. A patient with hyperopia will be able to see objects at a distance, but will have trouble focusing on objects up close, like books or newspapers. Treatments for farsightedness include glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. 
 
Astigmatism - When the cornea is curved more in one direction than another, visual images will not be focused properly on the retina. This condition is called astigmatism. A patient with astigmatism will have difficulties focusing on objects at any distance. In addition, astigmatism may cause eye strain and headaches. Treatments for astigmatism include glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. 
 
Presbyopia - When the lens of the eye loses its flexibility, visual images will not be focused properly on the retina. This condition occurs around the age of 40 and is called presbyopia. A patient with presbyopia will have difficulty focusing on objects up close, like books or newspapers. Treatments for presbyopia include glasses (bifocals), contact lenses (bifocal or monovision), or monovision refractive surgery.
Grand Rapids Office 
(218) 326-3433 
 
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(218) 262-3156 
 
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