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Difference between long-sightedness (hyperopia) and short-sightedness (myopia)

The difference between long and short-sighted is a frequently asked question.

Short-sightedness is by far the most common vision problem in the world. It is thought that by 2050, half the World’s population will be short-sighted and if that turns out to be true, we’re looking at around 5 billion people!

Long-sightedness is a smaller problem in terms of the number of people affected but both affect significantly vision.


If you’re short-sighted or myopic, then your eyes are set up to see near objects without any effort. In effect, the focusing power of the eyes is too strong so you can see objects close up but you need help to see in the distance.


If you’re long-sighted, the reverse is true, the eyes’ focusing power is set up for distance and so the main requirement is for reading. More power is required to focus on near objects.

Long-sightedness can often be compensated for in our youth to some degree by the muscles in our eyes. However, as we age, this ability is reduced and by our mid-40’s reading glasses are required to help us to read.

Treatment Options for Long-Sightedness and Short-Sightedness

In terms of treatment, both long-sightedness and short-sightedness can be corrected with the following surgical solutions available:

  • Laser Eye Surgery – This is the most common elective procedure in the World for vision correction. The techniques used nowadays are highly effective, extremely accurate and ultra-safe.

  • Refractive Lens Exchange – This is typically performed if you are over 50 years of age and involves replacing the natural lens with a replacement lens – usually a multi focal lens to allow for good vision for distance as well as for near. This technique is similar to cataract surgery and is used if laser eye surgery is not an option.

Thankfully, both techniques are safe, effective and more accurate than ever given the technological advancements in the last few years.

This post originally appeared on All About Vision.


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