The Most Common Vision Problems Experienced by Young Adults

eye health

While vision problems are something that most people typically associate with old age, there are a few conditions that can affect children and young adults. Below is some information on just a few of the most common vision problems experienced by young adults.

Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness, otherwise known as myopia, means you can see closer objects just fine, but things that are farther away seem blurry. While your risk of nearsightedness can come from a genetic predisposition, it can also be brought on by environmental factors, such as not spending enough time outdoors or from doing a high volume of reading.

The physical science behind myopia is basically that your eye is too long, or your cornea has too steep of a curve, which changes the way your eyes focus. Rather than focusing on your retina, the light entering the eye causes you to focus in front of the retina.

Nearsightedness is often diagnosed at a young age, but, again, it is possible to develop it later in life as a result of reading habits or environmental factors. Therefore, you may want to schedule an eye exam to see if you have myopia if you notice that you can’t focus well on faraway objects or you notice that you need to squint in order to see clearly.

It’s important to note that myopia can also bring about headaches due to the strain on your eyes because of difficulty focusing. Another common and dangerous symptom is having difficulty seeing, especially in the dark, while driving.

Farsightedness

Hyperopia, which is commonly referred to as farsightedness, is a condition characterized by being able to see distant objects clearly, while having trouble focusing on objects closer to you. Like myopia, hyperopia is the result of a refractive error in the eye. When light enters the eye and is incorrectly refracted due to a misshapen cornea or lens, it affects your eyes’ ability to process the light and focus your vision.

There are varying degrees of farsightedness, and these have an effect on your ability to focus your vision. A high degree of farsightedness results in a person only being able to see objects that are quite far away, but mild or medium farsightedness may allow you to focus on things nearby, depending on proximity.

Farsightedness is typically hereditary and is usually present at birth. Aside from the obvious symptom of nearby objects appearing blurry, you may also notice eyestrain, such as burning and aching eyes. A person with farsightedness may also experience headaches due to eyestrain, typically after long intervals of tasks like writing, drawing, reading, or working on a computer.

Astigmatism

Another refractive error that is a common vision problem among young adults is astigmatism. This is a condition that causes blurry vision from either an irregularly shaped cornea or an incorrect lens curvature in the eye. While myopia and hyperopia affect specific distances, astigmatism makes a person’s vision blurry at any distance.

Astigmatism is more common than one would expect, as most people have some degree of the condition. A low level of astigmatism may go unnoticed and therefore never need treatment, but higher astigmatism will be noticed and will usually cause blurry vision which, like nearsightedness and farsightedness, can cause eyestrain and headaches.

The cause of astigmatism is unknown, but it does seem to be genetic because it’s usually present at birth. A person may be diagnosed with astigmatism as a young adult rather than as a child because the condition can change, for better or worse, over time.

While glasses or contact lenses are typical treatment options for astigmatism, there is also a procedure called orthokeratology that modifies the curvature of the cornea. This is painless and non-invasive, and simply entails wearing specially designed, rigid contact lenses that help to reshape the cornea over time. In some cases, laser surgery can also be used to remove a small portion of eye tissue, which can help improve some levels of astigmatism.

What To Do

If you suspect you have any of these conditions based on the symptoms, book an appointment with an ophthalmologist for a thorough exam. Visiting an eye doctor who specializes in vision health, such as the experts at the Haas Vision Center, will help ensure that you get the right tests and the right advice and care for your own personal eye health.

Eye health is very important, so don’t simply self-diagnose yourself from a web search, and don’t just reach for the $5 drug store reading glasses either. Instead, have your eyes examined annually to keep track of any changes that may occur and to get necessary treatments as soon as possible.

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