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West Coast Eye Institute


Myopia/Hyperopia -- Far/Near Sighted

Key Points

  1. Refractive error is the eye's need for glasses

  2. This is a common issue
  3. Both issues are based on your eyes inaccurate bending of light and missing the "bull's eye" retina.
  4. The three most common refractive errors are: myopia (near-sighted), hyperopia (far-sighted), and astigmatism.
  5. Children often start as hyperopic
  6. Adults are often myopia

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Understanding the different between normal, myopia (near-sighted), and hyperopia (far-sighted) refractive error will help you understand how a pair of glasses or contact lens might positively impact your eyes. The most important thing to remember is that the need for glasses is not a disease, it is more just the extra help your eyes might need. Also it is very important to learn that the eye is a complex organ so ask questions if you have any.

For more information about astigmatism, click here.


Myopia, commonly referred to as near-sightedness, is a common refractive error; and the most common refractive refractive error in adults.What myopia means for you; your eye has a focal point a few inches from your eye. This means you will have a sweet spot of vision a few inches from your eyes. A real world example, it's late and you decide to go to bed. You take off your glasses, and the TV on the world becomes blurry. But you suddenly realized you need to set an alarm on you phone, so as you lift the phone to your eyes the phone comes clearly. This is a myopic eye.  

On your glasses prescription, there are three numbers:

sphere cylinder and axis.

commonly if the sphere is a minus (negative number) you have a myopic eye.


Hyperopia, commonly referred to as far-sightedness, is a refractive error that leaves the near vision blurry and often has the distance vision clearly. Unfortunately, not all hyperopic patients have good distance vision. Often times hyperopic patients are more dependent on their glasses than a myopic patients.  

On your glasses prescription, there are three numbers:

sphere cylinder and axis.

commonly if the sphere is a positive (negative number) you have a hyperopic eye.