Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
Is there any danger from leaving refractive errors (a focusing disorder of the eye, which includes nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism) uncorrected?

Answer:
Yes, in certain cases. Obviously operating machinery, driving a car and many other tasks will not be safe if there is a significant uncorrected refractive error. Unrecognized and/or uncorrected refractive errors can also lead to educational and social difficulties. However, I am assuming you are asking if there are dangers to the health of the eye.

The connections from the eye to the brain develop in childhood up to about age 9 to 11. In order to have a clear connection, the eye has to obtain a clear image. Significant refractive error — if not corrected — can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye), which can cause a permanent reduction in vision because the connection from the eye did not deliver a clear image to the brain while the brain was developing.

Answered by: Gary Hirshfield, MDDr. Gary Hirshfield

Categories: Vision Correction

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Answered: Feb 10, 2014

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