Short-sightedness and long-sightedness are very common vision problems that can usually be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. The condition is caused by the eyeball being too short, so that light rays are focused behind the retina at the back of the eye and the image is blurry.

Short-sightedness

If you’re short-sighted (myopic), you will have trouble seeing objects at a distance.

Your vision is clear when you look at things up close, but further away objects become out of focus or blurred. This can affect your vision when you are driving, playing sports or trying to recognise people and objects in the distance. This in turn can lead to eyestrain, headaches and fatigue.

Short-sightedness (myopia) occurs when your eye is too long from front to back or your cornea’s curve is too steep. As a result, light focuses in front of the retina, making objects in the distance appear blurred.

You can become short-sighted at any age, but it usually starts around puberty. It’s unusual for it to occur after the age of thirty, but older people with cataracts can become short-sighted.

Long-sightedness

If you are long-sighted (hyperopic), you can see objects clearly at a distance but find it hard to focus on things close to you. In more severe cases, it can be difficult to focus on objects at any distance. Long-sightedness (hyperopia) can interfere with day-to-day activities, such as reading, writing and other precise, close-up tasks. This can lead to eyestrain, headaches and fatigue.

Long-sightedness occurs when the eye is too short from front to back, or the cornea’s curve is too shallow. Light is then focused behind the retina instead of on it, resulting in blurred vision.

Some children are born long-sighted, but their vision usually corrects itself as their eyes develop. Adults can become long-sighted, which is often more noticeable as they approach middle age.

Additionally there is another long-sightedness, which is age-related and is called presbyopia.

Diagnosing short-sightedness and long-sightedness

How short-sighted or long-sighted you are depends on the distance your vision starts to blur. This is measured when you have an eye examination. The results will determine your prescription for glasses or contact lenses.

If you suspect you are short-sighted or long-sighted, you should visit an optician for a professional eye examination. Use our online search tool to find an optician near you.

Contact lenses for short-sightedness and long-sightedness

Most people who are short-sighted or long-sighted can correct their vision with contact lenses. These contact lenses are shaped to direct light to your retina, so you can see people and objects clearly at all distances.

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