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Refractive Error

Refractive errors of the eye are some of the most common eye problems, accounting for about 80 precent of impaired vision problems in the country. While your local optometrist may be able to diagnose and treat this condition with prescription lenses, only a trained and experienced ophthalmologist has the training to notice other, underlying issues. The exceptional eye doctors at Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York (VRMNY) diagnose and treat refractive errors while also testing for and recognizing other preventable eye disorders. And early detection is the best way to ensure a lifetime of clear eyesight. Don’t take chances with your eyes. Call the eye specialists at one of the convenient locations — in Manhattan, Westchester or Brooklyn — for an appointment today.

What Is a Refractive Error in the Eye?

The cornea, which is the outermost part of your eye, refracts light rays onto the lens, which then focuses the light on your retina at the back of your eye. That’s the way a healthy eye sees. When you have a refractive error, the eye disorder changes your eye’s shape, preventing light from accurately focusing on your retina, which causes you to see a blurred image.

Vision Disorders

Your retina, a light-sensitive layer of tissue, receives images from the lens and converts it into neural signals. These signals go on to the brain through your optic nerve for interpretation as images. Any abnormalities in your cornea or lens prevent light from focusing properly on the retina. Refractive errors affect your vision in different ways, which cause eye strain and the inability to see objects clearly. In children, these eye disorders affect the ability to learn.

An early diagnosis of the specific refractive error is crucial for effective treatment. The specialists at Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York (VRMNY) retina eye center use advanced diagnostic imaging and multiple approaches to treat refractive errors in your eyes. The experienced, talented ophthalmologists and eye surgeons provide exceptional eye care for you and your family from three locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Westchester.

What Are the Most Common Refractive Errors?

When you rely on New York’s top ophthalmologists and retina specialists, you trust physicians who’ve been trained at the world’s finest institutions. They firmly diagnose your vision problem, such as a refractive error, so you receive the most effective treatment. They have the experience to identify the problem quickly and accurately. Common refractive errors of the eye include:

  • You can see close objects clearly, while distant objects are blurry. This disorder, known as myopia, is mostly hereditary and develops because of an elongated eyeball or because of excessive curvature of your cornea, which cause light to focus in front of the retina and not on it squarely.
  • You can see distant objects easily, but closer objects appear blurry. This refractive error, called hyperopia, creates light to focus behind your retina rather than on it. Hyperopia develops if your eyeball is short or if the cornea doesn’t have sufficient curvature.
  • Astigmatism. Objects at all distances look blurry or distorted. This eye disorder develops because of an abnormally-shaped cornea. With astigmatism, your cornea refracts light that hits the eye onto multiple focus points on your retina.
  • This is an eye disorder caused by an aging eye lens. This eye condition is common after the age of 40. Presbyopia makes it difficult to read and to see things up close. As the lens in your eye ages, it loses its ability to focus light, leading to these vision problems.

While these are the most common refractive errors, your eye doctor may discover other impairments after a thorough checkup, which is why you need to trust your eye health to the best eye specialists in New York City. Early detection is the best solution for maintaining your vision over time.

★★★★★ The staff is courteous and professional

Considering the importance of vision and the numerous serious diseases which pose a life changing threat, there is no room for error. The finest eye specialists in the country are found at VRMCNY. I have been a patient there for decades and have been seen by several doctors. They define the meaning of expert and consult with one another to ensure accuracy. The office is spotless. The staff is courteous and professional. The visits are usually time consuming due to the necessity of imaging and a preliminary exam with a technician before seeing the specialist. I consider myself fortunate and am very grateful to be a patient there.

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Am I Suffering from Refractive Errors of the Eye?



Refractive errors in your eyes have multiple symptoms, some which are noticeable and others that aren’t as obvious. If you identify these symptoms early, consult an ophthalmologist who recognizes what medical conditions and individual triggers you have. Then you can receive the most appropriate, long-term treatment. Symptoms that point to refractive errors include:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Eye pain
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulty reading
  • Squinting while using your phone or computer
  • Problems seeing up close or at a distance
  • A glare or halo around bright lights
  • Straining your eyes to see
  • Tired, sore eyes
  • Esotropia, which is an eye misalignment and appears in children as crossed eyes

If you notice any of these symptoms, consult an eye doctor for an accurate diagnosis. To protect yourself and your family, get regular eye checkups. You may miss some symptoms, but the eye specialists at VRMNY have the expertise and medical equipment to detect hidden eye disorders.

What’s the Treatment for Refractive Eye Disorders?

Treatment for refractive eye disorders varies, depending on your specific disorder. Your doctor looks for problems during your regular eye checkups. Initial screening for refractive error or other eye problems starts at infancy. Treatment for refractive eye disorder includes:

  • Prescription eyeglasses. Eyeglasses bend light to correct your refractive error. The eyeglasses available may include single vision correction, bifocal lenses or trifocal prescription lenses.
  • Contact lenses. These are thin lenses placed onto your cornea to correct refractive errors and make your vision clearer. Common contact lenses available include rigid gas-permeable, daily-wear soft lenses, extended-wear and extended-wear disposable contacts.
  • Surgical procedures. Surgery may help correct the shape of your cornea to resolve your vision problem. Such procedures include intracorneal ring segments (Intacs), LASIK eye surgery, keratectomy, a cornea transplant and keratoplasty.

Through individualized diagnosis, your eye doctor at the New York City-based eye practice offers better treatment outcomes. Your treatment only starts after a firm diagnosis, a review of your medical history and a thorough exam.

Regular eye checkups are an effective measure for treating refractive disorders, preventing future complications and improving your quality of life. The VRMNY doctors use advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies for multiple eye conditions. These eye specialists research eye disorders and are industry leaders in innovating eye treatment procedures. Contact VRMNY today to learn why we are the best eye specialists in New York City.

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Updated on May 17, 2022 by Ophthalmologists & Retina Specialists of Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York

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