About Refractive Errors

Millions of Americans are affected by refractive errors in their vision. In order to see as clearly as possible at a range of distances, light must refract (bend) properly onto the eye’s retina. If the eye is shaped irregularly, the retina may not be able to appropriately focus rays of light. This leads to refractive errors, which cause images at certain distances to appear blurry.

The most common refractive errors are nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism. Below, you will find brief explanations of each of these conditions and information on some of the advanced treatments for refractive errors offered by our top ophthalmologists in Salt Lake City. If you have questions, or if you would like to schedule an eye exam, please contact The Eye Institute of Utah today.

Myopia (Nearsightedness)


Myopia, or nearsightedness, is an eye condition that occurs when the cornea is too steep or the eye too long. This means the light that enters the eye can’t focus correctly, causing distant objects to appear blurry.

If you are nearsighted, you may be a candidate for a laser vision correction procedure such as LASIK or PRK. If you have very high levels of myopia, the Visian ICL® implantable contact lens may be a better procedure for you.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

hyperopiaHyperopia, or farsightedness, is a condition where near and intermediate objects appear blurry. In farsightedness, the eye is too short, which causes the light to focus past the retina. Procedures such as LASIK and PRK can be great options to correct hyperopia.

Presbyopia (Need for Reading Glasses)

presbyopiaPresbyopia occurs when you lose the ability to see clearly when performing activities such as reading a newspaper, book, or menu. You will notice that presbyopia develops progressively over time, and your reading or near vision will continue to worsen and become blurry. Many people have nicknamed presbyopia the “long-arm” disease because they develop the need to hold reading materials further away. Eventually, this condition may affect your intermediate vision (working at computers) as well. Presbyopia usually starts in your mid-40s, and is a normal age-related process that everyone eventually experiences.

While reading glasses have traditionally been the most common way to address this condition, our practice offers a number of advanced options to treat presbyopia and reduce the need for corrective eyewear. These solutions include multifocal intraocular lenses such as ReSTOR®, TECNIS® and Symfony® lenses to bring back the whole range of near vision. These presbyopia-correcting lenses can be implanted during refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery or during a Custom Cataract Procedure. Our practice also offers some of the newest and most innovative presbyopia treatments: such as the KAMRA™ Corneal Inlay.

Learn more about presbyopia.

It’s so nice not having to wear glasses or contacts, I hated them. I had a prescription of a -5.00, my glasses were pretty thick and I wore them for 30 years. I can see better now than I ever have before. I’m glad I chose The Eye Institute of Utah for my vision correction! Thanks again.*
Russel, UT


astigmatismAstigmatism is a common eye condition that is caused by an irregularly-shaped cornea. The cornea should be a spherical shape, but with astigmatism, it is shaped like a football. This can result in blurred vision or double-images at all distances. Previously, people with high amounts of astigmatism were not candidates for laser vision correction. However, with today’s technology, LASIK and PRK can be excellent procedures for people with astigmatism. The precise laser is able to reshape the cornea and restore crisp, clear vision.

Frequently Asked Questions about Refractive Errors  

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about refractive errors. If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact us today and a member of our team will be happy to help.

What are refractive errors?

How do I know when it’s time to have treatment for a refractive error?

What are the treatment options for refractive errors?

At The Eye Institute of Utah, our doctors strive to provide patients with the latest treatments for refractive errors. If you have one of the refractive errors discussed above and would like to learn about possible surgical vision correction options, call us at 801-876-5390 and find out what options are available for you.

Learn About OurLASIK Specials


*Individual Results May Vary

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