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Optometry Terms Explained

optometry terms explained

Do you know what myopia or strabismus mean? Many common optometry terms are just not familiar to the general public. But, knowing these terms could prove to be important because it could help you understand your eyes better. This week’s blog will help explain some common optometry terms. Don’t worry if you don’t know any of these, you can rely on your family eye care professional to explain anything relevant to your eyes at your next regular eye exam.

“I can’t see that street sign. I must have developed farsightedness.”

Knowledge is power. Being more informed about your eyes can help you keep your peepers safe and healthy! So we have compiled a list of common optometry medical terms, check them out below:

  1. Myopia is another term for nearsightedness, which means you can see objects clearer at a closer distance. Hence the name nearsighted.
  2. Farsightedness is a medical term used to describe someone who can see objects better at a further distance.
  3. 20/20 vision is a measuring tool for visual acuity. A person who has 20/20 vision is able to see what a normal person should be able to see at 20 feet of distance. The first number indicates your distance in feet from the chart, and the number after the fraction indicates which distance a person with normal eyesight could read at the same distance. For example, someone with 20/80 vision is able to see clearly at 20 feet of distance, while a person with normal vision would be able to see clearly at 80 feet of distance.
  4. Strabismus is used to describe eye misalignment. Someone with this eye condition may have one or both eyes that are uncoordinated and result in eyes turning inward, outward, upward, or downward.
  5. Color Blindness, which is an umbrella term, is generally incorrectly understood as being unable to see color, and only being able to see in black or white. This is a form of color blindness; however, it is not the most common type. Those who are color blind, generally have varying levels of difficulty seeing red, blue, or green light, which affects how they see other colors.
  6. Diabetic retinopathy affects the retina, which is positioned at the back of the eye. The retina has light-sensitive cells, which are referred to as photoreceptors. Individuals with diabetes can develop retinopathy when the retinal blood vessels are damaged. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk for developing retinopathy.

If you are unsure of anything being discussed by your family eye doctor, speak up and ask more questions! It is important to be actively involved in your eye exam because it is more than just an updated prescription. It is also a chance to assess the health of your eyes. And remember if you think something is wrong with your eyes, err on the side of caution and see your optometrist sooner than later. You only have the one pair for life!


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We are your local Victoria, BC trusted family eye care center.