How Do You See?
If objects in the distance are blurry, this is called nearsightedness or myopia. You may require glasses or contacts for driving, sports or even just to see the alarm clock when you wake up. The degree can vary greatly from person to person or even from one eye to the other. Myopia develops when the cornea (the clear outer part of the eye) is too steep or if the eye itself is too long.
Farsightedness, or hyperopia, generally presents before the age of 40 with a need for glasses or contacts to see up close. Your biggest need for correction is when reading a book or looking at your watch. This occurs when the cornea (the clear outer part of the eye) is too flat or if the eye itself is too short. This should not to be confused with presbyopia, which generally occurs after the age of 40 (see below).
You may have an astigmatism if your vision is distorted or blurry across all distances and need glasses or contacts to perform daily activities. This condition mainly occurs when the cornea is shaped more like the a football than a baseball, curved in one direction more than the other.
If you are over the age of 40 and cannot read a menu or see your cell phone without using bifocals or reading glasses, you likely have presbyopia. As a normal aging process, the natural lens inside of the eye becomes stiffer, and it is no longer able to change focus between up close and far away objects. This is a progressive condition, which usually starts with occasional use of reading glasses and leads to full-time use of bifocal or progressive lenses.
Cataracts typically progress slowly over time. If you have been noticing changes in your vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, you may have a cataract in one or both of your eyes. A clouding of the lens inside of your eye causes these changes in vision.
Dry Eye Syndrome
If your vision seems to change often or your eyes feel itchy and tired, you may have dry eye syndrome. This is when the body does not produce enough quality tears which impacts your vision. Vision may be worse in certain environments, at certain times of the day or during specific activities.
Changes in the cornea can compromise your vision. There are a variety of corneal diseases, conditions or trauma that can impact the quality of vision. Once this clear surface of the eye has been damaged, light entering the eye can be distorted or blocked completely.