Brendan O’Brien, Chief Operations Officer, Vision Direct

The most common eye condition is short-sightedness

The most common eye condition is short-sightedness

Did you know that being short-sighted or long-sighted is to do with the shape of your eye? Or that with over a billion people in the world that have presbyopia, you’ve got at least a 1 in 7 chance of needing vision correction as you get older?

Our eyes are so important to us, but the average person on the street probably doesn’t know much about different eye and vision problems. Some conditions are easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses, but more serious cases may require surgery and other treatments to prevent significant vision loss.

The most common eye condition is short-sightedness or myopia. When you have myopia, close-up objects will appear in perfect definition, but more distant ones will seem blurry and out of focus. Often this is a result of your eye being slightly elongated in shape or your cornea having a steep curve.


More often known as long-sightedness, hyperopia has the opposite impact on your sight to myopia. It’s caused by your eyeball being shorter than average or your cornea being too flat. Both myopia and hyperopia can be treated very easily. All you need is contact lenses or glasses.


The shape of your eye is a determining factor in whether you have a vision problem or not. When you have astigmatism, your cornea is shaped like a rugby ball rather than being more like a football. This means light that enters your eye gets scattered and results in a distorted image. Toric contact lenses are designed to fit this shape more stably and focus light appropriately.


As your eyes get older they lose their elasticity and can become less able to focus. When you have presbyopia, this happens to such an extent that they don’t contract enough when you’re looking at close-by objects. This makes reading difficult and might why you may have noticed friends or family having to hold things at arm’s length when they need to read.


While the previous conditions are all treatable with contact lenses or glasses, cataracts require surgery to remove. They occur when the lens in your eye clouds over and prevent light from reaching the back. When left untreated, they can cause blindness.


Another leading cause of blindness is glaucoma. Glaucoma refers to a few different conditions which affect the optic nerve. When this becomes damaged it’s harder for your brain to build a picture of what you’re seeing. Glaucoma can’t be cured but the effects can be prevented relatively easily if detected early.

Macular Degeneration

Like glaucoma, macular degeneration occurs usually as you get older (over 60). Your macula is the part of your eye responsible for central vision so as it degenerates it becomes harder to focus on what’s straight ahead. This can make colours appear less vibrant, reading more difficult and faces harder to recognise, although it doesn’t affect your peripheral vision, so won’t lead to total blindness.


This is often hereditary but can also occur when you don’t follow guidelines for wearing your contact lenses properly or because of overexposure to UV rays. It’s a progressive condition that the causes the cornea to change shape, altering the way that your eye can refract light, leading to frequent prescription changes and even the need for custom contact lenses.

Colour blindness

Colour blindness affects 1 in 12 men and approximately 1 in 200 women, but total colour blindness is extremely rare. Each retina contains rods and cones, with the rods being responsible for showing the differences in lightness and dark. Cones are responsible for the different colours and are split into red, green and blue. If one stops working this means that your entire perception of colour will shift.


Often referred to as ‘crossed eyes’, strabismus is when someone cannot focus on the same point with both eyes. This can cause double vision and lead to problems with eye strain too. It can also lead to problems with depth perception.

Find out more about eye conditions, how the world looks when you have one and the changes in the eye with Vision Direct’s eye & vision problems tool.

About Brendan:

Brendan O’Brien is the Chief Operations Officer at Having studied optometry at the University of Manchester and worked within the industry for many years, Brendan’s vast knowledge of eye health and the optics business has been a huge asset to Vision Direct. 

Vision Direct is Europe’s largest online contact lens supplier, stocking over 1 million lenses from world leading brands, including Focus Dailies, Air Optix and Acuvue Moist. The company prides itself on its superfast next day delivery and best-in-class customer support available 7 days a week. It’s these great features that have made Vision Direct so popular with its customers, earning a 9.6 rating on Trust Pilot.