How Optometrists Diagnose And Treat Different Kinds of Refractive Errors

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How Optometrists Diagnose And Treat Different Kinds of Refractive Errors

If you are wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses to see better, chances are your eyes have a refractive error. 

A refractive error is characterized by vision problems caused by the irregular shape of your eye or cornea that does not let light focus correctly on your retina. The most common kinds of refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia. 

While all four conditions can seriously detract from your vision and quality of life, they also respond well to vision correction methods, including eyeglasses, contact lenses, and laser surgery. Millions of Canadians with refractive errors are able to live their life without skipping a beat. 

Do you have a refractive error you would like to correct? Specs In The City has the right resources for you. Our Calgary optometrists can walk you through our high-end prescription eyeglasses, our large selection of contact lenses, and our laser technology and help you choose a treatment option that best suits your needs. 


You have myopia or are nearsighted if objects afar appear blurry to you. Myopia occurs when your eyeball is too long or your cornea is too curved. This makes light focus in front of your retina rather than precisely on it, blurring your vision of distant objects. 

Your eyes will try to compensate for your worsening vision at first, so realizing the onset of myopia is not always evident. It is recommended to get regular eye exams so that your optometrist can detect myopia early and correct your vision right away. Seniors, in particular, should get an eye exam at least once every two years to track the progression of their myopia一but also to protect against more nefarious eye conditions that come with age. 

Myopia is relatively easy to correct. You will have a large selection of prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses to choose from. You can look into laser surgery, which can reshape your cornea and treat your myopia for good. 


Hyperopia or farsightedness occurs when your eyeball is shorter than normal or your cornea is not sufficiently curved. Symptoms of this condition include blurry vision up close and discomfort when focusing on reading and writing tasks. Your long-range vision remains unaffected. 

Basic eye exams are effective at diagnosing hyperopia. As for myopia, treatment options for hyperopia abound. Prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and laser surgery can be all viable for correcting hyperopia. Speak with your optometrist to determine which one is best for you. 


You may have astigmatism if your vision is blurry at all distances. This occurs when the curvature of your cornea and your lens does not match, which results in overlapping images that appear blurry. Astigmatism is generally present from birth or caused by an eye injury, disease, or surgery. It does not result from poor vision habits, such as reading under poor lighting or sitting too close to the television. 

An eye exam can help your optometrist diagnose astigmatism. Your eye doctor can then propose a range of treatment options to offset the uneven curvature of your cornea and lens. These include prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and laser surgery. 


Presbyopia is the inability to see close objects clearly, just like hyperopia. Unlike hyperopia, presbyopia is not caused by an abnormal curvature in the eyeball or cornea. Instead, the hardening of the lens in your eye makes it more difficult to focus on close-up images. The hardening of the lens can be part of the natural ageing process; presbyopia usually occurs in your 40s and continues to worsen until your 60s. 

Like other refractive errors, presbyopia is easily diagnosed by a basic eye exam. Treatment options include prescription eyeglasses, special contact lenses, and laser surgery. Lens implants and corneal inlays have also been successful in treating certain cases of presbyopia. Lastly, it is worth noting that over-the-counter reading eyeglasses can be adequate for milder cases. 

Your Calgary Refractive Error Correction 

Life is not just the same if you cannot see clearly at all distances. Fortunately, most cases of refractive errors are easy to diagnose and correct. Most patients dealing with a refractive error will have their pick of prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and laser treatments. 

Specs In The City is committed to helping you see better. Our Calgary eye doctors will sit down with you and discuss treatment options that best suit your lifestyle and budget and meet the specific needs of your eyes. Our experts will remain in contact with you all the way, ready to step in as your condition changes. Call us at (403) 252-2020 or fill out the online contact form if you are ready to take action about your myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia. 


Q: Is laser surgery a safe option to correct my refractive error?
A: Laser surgery is generally safe, with a success rate of at least 96%. Additionally, only 0.3% of patients suffer from complications, such as persistent dry eyes and eye infections. However, laser surgery is not for everybody, as some preexisting conditions may preclude patients from this treatment. Your optometrist will make sure whether laser surgery is right for you. 

Q: Can you go blind from refractive errors?
A: Yes. It is possible to go blind from uncorrected refractive errors. However, these cases are relatively rare as most cases tend to plateau instead. 

Q: Am I at risk of refractive errors?
A: Refractive error can occur in anyone at any age. People with a family history have a higher chance of contracting a refractive error.

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