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In a healthy eye light is automatically focussed onto the retina, the layer of tissue at the back of the eye that captures the image of what you’re looking at. Refractive errors occur when there is a difficulty in the focussing power of the eye. Either the light is not focussed on the retina or it’s focussed with difficulty.
These are the four kinds of refractive error:
More commonly known as short sightedness Myopia is when the eye has excessive focussing power. The light entering the eye bends too much so it focuses at a point in front of the retina. This means that objects close up are in focus while ones further away appear blurred.
This is similar to long sightedness. As you get older your eye’s focussing power for near sight can become reduced, which leads to blurred near vision.
Hyperopia or Hypermetropia
Also known as long sightedness this condition occurs when the eye has too little focussing power. Light doesn’t bend enough and is focussed at a point behind the retina, meaning that distant and near objects are out of focus or are focussed with effort, which leads to eye strain.
Astigmatism is often described as the eye being rugby ball shaped. Due to the difference in curvature of the surface of the eye light gets focussed into a line instead of a point either in front or behind the retina. It often occurs alongside short or long sightedness.