Nearsightedness and farsightedness refer to vision conditions in which a person has trouble seeing objects that are either at a distance from them or close to them. Both conditions have a number of treatment options.
Known by the medical term myopia, nearsightedness means that someone can clearly see objects close to them, but objects farther away appear blurry. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), the condition results from an elongated eyeball or an overly curved cornea. The AOA says nearly 30 percent of Americans suffer from nearsightedness.
Medically known as hyperopia, farsightedness means that the person can clearly see distant objects, but not objects close to them. According to the American Optometric Association, the condition results from an eyeball that is too short or a cornea that is not sufficiently curved.
Nearsightedness can be treated with corrective lenses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgery, in which the curvature of the cornea is reshaped, is another option. The Mayo Clinic lists these types of refractive surgery, noting that they all carry some degree of risk: laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, or LASIK surgery; laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis, or LASEK surgery; photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK surgery; and anterior chamber intraocular lens implant, or IOL.
As with nearsightedness, farsightedness can be treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. According to the Mayo Clinic, LASIK, LASEK and PRK surgical procedures are also options for treatment, as is conductive keratoplasty, or CK, a procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to apply heat to tiny spots around the cornea.
Causes of Nearsightedness
According to the American Optometric Association, "Some research supports the theory that nearsightedness is hereditary. There is also growing evidence that it is influenced by the visual stress of too much close work."
Causes of Farsightedness
WebMD says that farsightedness is usually hereditary. "A person with one or more parents who are farsighted is likely to be farsighted as well."