Fixes For the Most Common Vision Problems
For many Michiganders, the words in this blog would be hard to read without glasses or contacts. If that’s you, you aren’t alone. Vision problems affect the majority of Americans: Almost two-thirds of adults in the U.S. rely on prescription eyewear to be able to see clearly. And that percentage would be even higher if everyone who had trouble seeing clearly actually had an annual eye exam. If you think you might suffer from one of the following common vision issues, schedule one today. Knowing the type of vision problem is key to coming up with the right treatment plan.
- Nearsightedness: This is also known as myopia and is when you can see close things, like the book you’re reading, clearly but can’t seem to focus on items further away in the distance. It affects almost 30 percent of Americans and can be righted with contacts or glasses. If it’s mild, you can even get by with only wearing glasses when needed, say when driving a car. Want a more permanent solution? Go for refractive surgery, which can get rid of your need for glasses or contacts altogether.
- Farsightedness: Sometimes referred to as hyperopia, this vision problem is when things in the distance can be seen clearly while those close up are blurry. In more extreme cases, everything is blurry no matter how close or far it is from your eyes. This is less common than nearsightedness (it only affects 5 to 10 percent of the population) but has the same treatment options: eyeglasses, contacts and refractive surgery.
- Astigmatism: According to University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center, the blurriness caused by astigmatism is because the cornea isn’t curved quite right. This leads to less-than-clear images that can also sometimes be distorted (think of how a wavy mirror’s image looks). To help, doctors will prescribe special lenses called Toric lenses that bend light more in one area than in another.
- Presbyopia: This is similar to farsightedness, in that it makes it tough to focus on items up close, but it’s caused by age (it doesn’t usually hit until around 40). It’s due to a loss of flexibility in the lens, meaning your lens can’t adjust and focus as well as it used to. For those with presbyopia, the answer is usually bifocals, progressives or multifocal contact lenses.
If any of these sound familiar, be sure to make an appointment with a local optometrist. To find a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan or Blue Care Network provider, visit bcbsm.com.
Learn more about improving the health of your employees, and lowering your business’ health care costs, by offering Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s specialty insurance coverage at BCBSM.com.
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Photo credit: Ken Teegardin