Refractive Error

What is Refractive Error?

Refractive error is an eye disorder, in which the patient has a distorted eye shape and vision. Technically it means that the eye is not reflecting the light properly, and therefore the patient will suffer from blurred vision. It is a common eye disorder. Initially, the patient will not be able to focus properly, and if the condition becomes severe, the patient is likely to experience total blindness. This eye disorder is not a preventable condition but is treatable. A simple eye test can help in the diagnosis of this condition, and timely correction will save the patient from any additional medical complexities. WHO estimates that 153 million people worldwide live with visual impairment due to uncorrected refractive errors. This figure does not include the people living with uncorrected presbyopia, which is likely to be quite significant, according to some early evidence.


There are clear symptoms including:

  • Blurred vision.
  • Reading problem.
  • Inability to see close objects.
  • Eye irritation or weakness in the eyes.
  • In children, there are initial signs such as crossed eyes (when eyes are not aligned properly), continuous blinking of the eyes, rubbing of the eyes, and frowning while reading.
  • Advanced signs include, headaches due to stress on vascular eye muscle, squinting of eyes, eye fatigues, different sensation, or excessive itchiness in your eyes.


Some of the most probable causes of this disease are:

  • Myopia - Close objects are clear, and distant objects are blurry. It is also known as nearsightedness and often inherited.
  • Hyperopia - Close objects are more blurry than distant objects. It is also known as farsightedness, and can also be inherited.
  • Presbyopia - Aging of the lens in the eye. 
  • Astigmatism - It usually occurs when the front surface of the eye, the cornea, has an asymmetric curvature.


The main risk factors of this disease include:

  • Continuous eye blinking.
  • Sleepy and tired eyes.
  • Headaches due to stress.
  • Excessively itchy eyes.


In order to prevent the occurrence of this disease, one should do the following things:

  • Taking a proper sleep.
  • Frequently washing the eyes.
  • Drying the eyes with a clean cloth.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, following are the procedures used to diagnose the disease: 


How is it treated?

Treatment for refractive errors can be done through corrective lenses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery. 


  • Surgical intervention

    Only people with high level of myopia require surgical intervention. A surgery prevents the risk of retinal detachment in such patients. Corrective lenses and contact lenses are used on patients to correct short-sightedness or farsightedness.

  • LASIK or laser surgery

    It is also done to treat refractive disorders. It helps to reduce dependency on wearing glasses. Under this surgical procedure, one correction is made to treat distant vision, and the other for myopia.

  • Cylindrical lenses

    They are used in case of abnormal curvature of the cornea.

  • Vision correction

    It is done by wearing bifocal or multifocal eyeglasses, or by using bifocal or multifocal contact lenses. It is a multi-vision solution to treat both distant and close vision disorder.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you begin to experience symptoms such as reading problem, blurred vision, and eye irritation, one should immediately see a doctor. All these symptoms will be treated just right with the medical help of our experts here. 

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