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Refractive errors

1-minute read

A refractive error is the most common eye problem. When the shape of the eye is abnormal, the eye doesn't bend (or refract) light properly, and so vision is blurred.

The most common types of refractive errors are:

  • Long-sightedness (hypermetropia), causing blurred close and distance vision.
  • Short-sightedness (myopia) causing blurred long distance vision.
  • Astigmatism, which causes an uneven focus of light and blurred vision.
  • Presbyopia, When the eye lens loses flexibility, making close work difficult. This is most common with people over 40 years of age.

These errors can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Surgery might also be an option.

Follow the links below to find trusted information about refractive errors.

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Last reviewed: August 2018

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Refractive error - Vision Initiative

Refractive error Refractive error is a common eye disorder that occurs when the eye cannot clearly focus on the images of objects looked at

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Uncorrected refractive error | Causes & treatments | Fred Hollows

Uncorrected refractive error is the most common cause of vision impairment, and the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Learn about the causes and treatments.

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Eyes – refractive errors - Better Health Channel

Refractive errors are common eye disorders causing blurry vision and are related to the focusing ability of your eyes.

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Astigmatism -

Astigmatism is type of refractive error where the front surface of the eye (the cornea) or the lens inside the eye has an irregular curvature which causes the vision to be distorted and blurred.

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Eyes - common problems - Better Health Channel

You can help prevent dry eyes and minimise the risk of tired or sore eyes while reading or using a computer.

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Eyesight problems: when you need glasses -

How is your eyesight? Find out about short-sightedness, long-sightedness and presbyopia - common conditions that affect vision.

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Short-sightedness - Better Health Channel

If you are short-sighted, you will have trouble seeing objects clearly in the distance and they will appear blurry.

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Eyes – long-sightedness - Better Health Channel

A significant amount of long-sightedness can lead to blurred vision, particularly for close objects.

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Long-sightedness (hyperopia): kids & teens | Raising Children Network

If your child has trouble seeing things clearly, she might be long-sighted. Long-sightedness or hyperopia is quite common in kids. See a GP or optometrist.

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Short-sightedness or myopia: kids & teens | Raising Children Network

If your child has trouble seeing distant objects, he might be short-sighted. Your child should see a GP or optometrist about short-sightedness (myopia).

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