Refractive Error

Refractive Errors

A refractive error is a very common eye disorder that is experienced by more than 150 million Americans. It occurs when the eye cannot clearly focus the images from the outside world. The result of refractive errors is blurred vision, which is sometimes so severe that it causes visual impairment.

What are Refractive Errors?

Refractive errors – myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, presbyopia – cause blurred vision due to an inability to focus images on the retina. The image that reaches the brain is not sharp. If not corrected, their consequences can be particularly harmful for children’s academic development

Refractive Errors – Causes

A refractive error occurs when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. This can be caused by a number of things, such as the length of the eyeball being too long or too short, changes in the shape of the cornea, or a result of aging. Refractive errors are treatable.

Refractive Error – Detection & Treatment

Refractive errors cannot be prevented but they can be treated quite easily. It is important to detect them early to ensure that a treatment plan is developed and critical learning is not interrupted.

Refractive Errors in Children are diagnosed during a scheduled eye exam performed by one of our SoCal Eye doctors. The child’s vision is examined with the aid of dilating eye drops, which prevent the eye from focusing and compensating for the optical error, thus enabling the eye’s optical power to be measured in diopters.


SoCal Eye doctors can correct refractive errors with glasses or contact lenses, or fix the refractive error with surgery when the child becomes an adult. Eyeglasses are the simplest and safest way to correct refractive errors. Your eye doctor will prescribe the right eyeglass lenses to give you the clearest possible vision.