How to spot the difference between the two eye conditions & what you can do to start seeing clearly again

Your vision is precious, so it’s important to take care of your eyes to keep them healthy. If things are looking a little blurry, or you’re straining your eyes to focus, it’s time to book an eye test at Boots Opticians. It might be something as simple to correct as long or short-sightedness.

Long and short-sightedness are two very common eye conditions. They can be tricky to tell apart as they share some of the same symptoms. Lucky for you, we’re here to give you the lowdown of everything you need to know.

What is short-sightedness?

Short-sightedness (or myopia if we’re getting all fancy and technical), causes objects in the distance to appear blurred, while objects close by can be seen clearly. You may be short-sighted if you have blurred vision when you’re driving or watching TV, but you can see well when reading a book. It's thought to affect up to one in three people in the UK and is becoming more common.

What causes short-sightedness?

Short-sightedness usually happens because the eyes grow slightly too long. This means light doesn't focus properly on the light-sensitive tissue (retina) at the back of the eye. Light instead focuses just in front of the retina, which causes objects in the distance to appear blurry. Short-sightedness can also be caused by the transparent layer at the front of the eye (cornea) being too curved.

What are the symptoms of short-sightedness?

Signs and symptoms may include:

• Things far away look fuzzy and out of focus, but close objects are clear

• Tired and strained eyes after things like driving or watching TV

• Headaches

• Blurred vision

• Squinting

What is long-sightedness?

Long-sightedness (or hyperopia) is the opposite of short-sightedness as it affects the ability to see objects up close. Those with long-sightedness may be able to see objects further away clearly, but objects nearby may appear out of focus. The condition can affect anyone of any age, but usually causes more symptoms in adults over 40.

What causes long-sightedness?

In a similar way to short-sightedness, long-sightedness happens when the eye doesn’t focus light properly on the retina. This could be for a number of different reasons including:

• The eyeball is too short

• The cornea is too flat

• The lens in the eye is unable to focus properly

• Genetics

What are the symptoms of long-sightedness?

Signs and symptoms may include:

• Nearby objects seem fuzzy and out of focus, but distant objects are clear

• Tired and strained eyes after things like reading or using a computer

• Headaches

• Blurred vision

• Squinting

Children who are long-sighted may not have any noticeable problems with their vision at first. But if long-sightedness is left untreated, it could lead to problems such as a squint or lazy eye. Babies usually have their first eye check within 72 hours of birth. Further eye checks can be made between six and eight weeks old, between one to two years old and between four to five years old. It's recommended that children have their eyes tested at least every two years. Eye tests are free for all children under 16 years old and those under 19 years old who are in full-time education.

How are short & long-sightedness diagnosed?

Life’s too short to put up with eye squinting and straining, right? After all, you’ve got places to go, people to see, without blurred vision getting in the way of your plans. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, the good news is that both conditions can be diagnosed by booking an eye test at your local Boots Opticians. Our expert optometrists are on hand to help get you seeing clearly again.

What are the treatment options for short & long-sightedness?

If you’ve been diagnosed with one of the conditions during your eye test, both short-sightedness and long-sightedness can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. The lenses in both of these options work by changing the way light rays bend into the eyes.

Whether you want to give contact lenses a go or you’re ready to switch up your style and rock a new pair of glasses, we have everything you need to feel fabulous. With a wide range of eye-catching big-name frames to choose from, like Tom Ford and Prada, plus a gorgeous range of great value Boots branded glasses – what more could you ask for?

Laser eye surgery is also an option you may want to consider to help with short or long-sightedness. Although this isn’t a procedure we offer, we’ve got the laser eye surgery 101 for you right here.

Book your eye test today

If you’re ready to get your eyes checked, you can book your eye test today online, in store, or by calling 0345 125 3752.*
We’ll see you soon!

*Local rates apply from BT landlines in the UK and other providers' charges may vary. All calls will be recorded or monitored for quality and training purposes.