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What exactly is refractive error? People often tell our doctors that they have “bad eyes” in reference to the power of their contact lenses and glasses. In reality, the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism is simply representative of where the focal point of the eye is. A nearsighted eye is focused close to the patient (often times, too close to be of practical use). Glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgeries such as LASIK or PRK can reposition that focal point. For patients wanting to see clearly far away, the corrective power will place their focal point at infinity. For patients spending a great deal of time at their desk, a focal point at the distance of their computer screen may be more appropriate.

The power of the eye is generally based on the length of the eye. A nearsighted (myopic) eye usually is too long length-wise. This elongation of the eye is responsible for causing the nearsightedness, and also puts tension on an abnormally thin retina at the back of the eye. For this reason, it is extremely important for myopic patients (or those patients that were nearsighted before refractive surgery) to have their retinas inspected yearly for holes, tears, or detachments that may result from the shape of their eyes. A farsighted (hyperopic) eye is typically shortened, and such eyes carry higher risks of angle-closure glaucoma. Astigmatism is a form of refractive error that can cause eyestrain, blur, and distortion at distance and near. It is important to correct astigmatism for all distances including reading, computer work, and distance activities.

An eyeglass examination is what is technically known as a refraction. The refraction determines a patient’s refractive state. At Vista Eye Care, our eye exams take the time to try your glasses prescription at different distances. For example, if a patient spends their day working at their computer, we will try glasses with lens powers that simulate their work environment. Likewise, we often will demonstrate a patient’s distance prescription by trying that power on and having the patient step outside. This demonstrates the change in prescription (if any) and allows the patient to see what their new glasses can do for them.

What are the most common complaints from contact lens wearers, or glasses wearers whose prescription has changed? Common complaints include headaches, tired eyes at the computer or while reading, watery eyes, dry eyes, sore eyes, or diffuse ocular tension associated with the end of a long workday. Vista Eye Care is Thornton, Colorado’s premier eye care practice. Drs. Abert and Pedroza will take the time to carefully assess your vision to assure the best quality of sight. And when you purchase your corrective eyewear from Vista Eye Care, it is guaranteed to work the way you want it to. All our eyewear is of the highest quality and we stand by the eyewear that we fit. Please contact our office today to schedule your annual comprehensive eye and vision examination or contact lens exam today. We look forward to caring for your eyes!