What Does It Mean to Be Nearsighted or Farsighted?

woman getting an eye exam

Have you ever visited the optometrist only to find out your vision is nearsighted? Or farsighted? What are they talking about?

Vision occurs when light enters your eye and, working together, the cornea and lens refract light to focus onto a point at the very back of your eye called the retina. The retina converts this light into electrical impulses and then sends them to your brain. This how your brain produces an image.


Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, affects nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. It occurs when light is focused in front of the retina, instead of directly on it.

People who are nearsighted have an easy time reading, working on the computer and doing other close work. They struggle seeing when driving, reading a whiteboard at school, watching a movie or trying to identify faces from far away.


When an eyeball is too short or the cornea isn’t curved enough, farsightedness, or hyperopia, is the result. This causes light to be focused behind the retina, making a farsighted person able to see far away but not close. Only around 10 percent of Americans have hyperopia.

Those who are farsighted can easily read an eye chart but may have trouble reading the textbook right in front of them. Farsightedness is often missed in simple vision screenings performed at school.

You Deserve to Have Good Vision 

If you have frequent headaches or eyestrain, you may have a problem with your vision. If you already have glasses or contacts and experience similar symptoms, you may just need your prescription updated. So, whether you’re going in for some new frames, renewing your prescription, or suspect that something in your vision might be off, contact your local optometrist.

Don’t ever hesitate when it comes to your vision!