What are Refractive Errors?
Refractive errors affect about 150 million Americans, with near- and far-sightedness being the most common types. When a patient has a refractive error, it means the shape of their eyes makes it difficult to focus and see clearly without corrective lenses or surgery. Regular eye exams are the most important step in identifying, monitoring, and correcting refractive errors.
Causes of Refractive Errors
Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. This can happen if the cornea changes shape, if the eyeball is too long or short, or because of changes in the lenses that occur naturally with aging.
Both near-sightedness, also called myopia, and far-sightedness, called hyperopia, and are typically inherited and diagnosed in childhood.
Patients with myopia can see objects nearby without a problem, but objects at a distance become blurry. Myopia is typically caused by an irregular eye length or irregular curve in the eye’s lens.
With hyperopia, patients can see distant objects clearly, but closer objects may be blurry. Presbyopia is age-related hyperopia that usually becomes noticeable after age 40. The lens becomes more rigid with age, making it harder to focus and to see clearly. Mild cases of presbyopia can sometimes be addressed with over-the-counter reading glasses.
An astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens is curved more steeply in one direction than in another. Some people are born with astigmatisms, but they can also occur after injury or illness.
Refractive errors are not caused by squinting, reading in low light, or sitting too close to screens.
Symptoms of Refractive Errors
Common symptoms of refractive errors include headaches, blurry vision, eye strain, and difficulty seeing at night. Vision may seem hazy or a person may have trouble focusing when reading or working at a computer.
Diagnosis of Refractive Errors
Your Cizik Eye Clinic doctor will discuss your symptoms and conduct a routine eye exam. Patients typically read a vision chart with various lenses to maximize vision. Specialized testing is rarely needed to diagnose refractive errors.
Treatment of Refractive Errors
Refractive errors are commonly corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Surgery, such as LASIK, is also an effective option for many patients. Orthokeratology is a newer treatment available for patients with refractive errors. Your doctor can fit you for gas permeable contact lenses, called ortho-k lenses, that are worn overnight to reshape the cornea. Patients remove the lenses when they wake up and can see clearly throughout the day without glasses or contact lenses. The contacts do not cure refractive errors, but their use allows patients freedom from glasses and contacts during the day. Your eye doctor will discuss available options with you.
What you can expect at the Cizik Eye Clinic
The Cizik Eye Clinic opened in 2007 and is housed in Memorial Hermann Plaza at 6400 Fannin Street. It includes dozens of exam areas, multiple operating rooms, and laser suites equipped with the most sophisticated equipment available for patient care.
People travel from across the country and the world for treatment at the Cizik Eye Clinic, in part because our affiliation with the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth provides unmatched resources and expertise. Our friendly staff works diligently to make your visit pleasant and efficient, as we maximize patient flow through everything from routine eye exams to the most advanced eye surgeries.
Our physicians are faculty members at McGovern Medical School and are board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology or are board eligible. At the Cizik Eye Clinic, we understand that the eye is a small part of a whole patient who deserves top-notch, comprehensive care in a cutting-edge facility.
At Robert Cizik Eye Clinic, we offer patients access to highly specialized eye and vision care. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-9400, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.