What is Nearsighted and Farsighted Vision?

In a nutshell, people with nearsighted vision can see close-up objects more clearly, while people with farsighted vision are better able to focus on things in the distance.


If you can read easily and see nearby objects clearly, but have trouble focusing on things in the distance, you’re probably nearsighted (also called myopic). Other symptoms include squinting to see clearly, excessive blinking, and headaches caused by eyestrain.


If you can easily focus on objects in the distance, but things up close are blurry, you’re likely farsighted (also called hyperopic). Farsightedness can cause headaches or eye strain after reading, writing, working on a computer, or other up-close activities.

Illustration of normal, myopic and hyperopic eyeballs


Nearsightedness and farsightedness are not eye diseases; in most cases they are caused by slight abnormalities in the eyeball shape that affect how light is focused (this is called a refractive error.) In general, nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball shape is slightly elongated, while farsightedness is usually the result of a shorter or smaller eyeball shape.  

Other factors, including aging and lifestyle choices, can affect how our eyes focus. As we age, our eyes naturally lose their flexibility and ability to focus, which can worsen both near- and farsightedness. Additionally, spending a lot of time focusing on objects up close—like our phones and computers—can increase nearsightedness. 

Vision Correction

A prescription to correct near vision problems will have a negative number for the SPH, or sphere, measurement. Optical prescriptions to correct distance vision problems have a positive SPH measurement. In general, the further your SPH value is from 0, the worse your eyesight and stronger the correction. 

If you’re having a harder time focusing on objects up close or in the distance, or if it’s been more than a year since your last eye exam, schedule an appointment today with one of our top-notch eye doctors at any of our four stores.