THE READERS HUB is pleased to bring to you another most educative and a thrilling encounter with one of our ardent Readers in our Social Media Monk handle. The discourse was moderated by Mr. Danaa Samad as they discussed extensively on the theme dubbed: REFRACTIVE ERROR: A VISUAL THREAT OR A MERE ILLUSION?


Visual excellence is very important to the functioning of the human being. However, due to human activities, a host of issues abound that hamper our visual excellence. Common among them is what is termed Refractive Error in the Medical parlance.

Refractive error is an eye disorder in which the patient has distorted eye shape and vision. It occurs when the shape of one’s eye does not bend light correctly, resulting in a blurred image. An uncorrected refractive error can cause blindness and low vision. Indeed, it is estimated that about 8 million people are blind and about 145 million have low vision because of lack of adequate refractive correction. Uncorrected refractive error may also reduce productivity and employability, hamper academic performance at school and generally impair one’s quality of life.

Tonight, THE READERS HUB engages the services of an expert to take us through what it all entails and whether or not it is a threat to our vision or a mere illusion. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome our resource person for tonight’s Social Media Monk encounter-

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure.

Danaa Samad: Dr you are welcome

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Thank you my brother.

Danaa Samad: Dr, please what is Refractive Error?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Refractive errors are optical imperfections on the eye that prevents the eye from properly focusing on light, causing blurred vision of desired objects at different distances.

Danaa Samad: So, is it correct to say that Refractive Error is a disease?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: It’s a disorder or an imperfection in the eye acquired from birth including several other factors.

Danaa Samad: So, what causes Refractive Error?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: It could be inheritance – one’s gene from a parent with a refractive error, genetic disorders- albinism, Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome etc. Trauma from accident or an aberration to the cornea. Adverse effects of some systemic drugs- anti malarial like chloroquine, anti-depressants/narcotic. Manifestation of some diseases- diabetes, abnormal blood pressure etc. And even ageing too could be a factor.

Danaa Samad: Has this disorder the potential to cause blindness?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Very high unresolved or unmanaged refractive errors can cause blindness through retinal detachment.

Danaa Samad: I know that in some cases, blindness can be reversed through surgery and eye management procedures. So, when blindness is caused by refractive error, is there a possibility that it can be reversed?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Yes, that’s true. But not in the case of refractive errors. Because it affects the very sensitive layer (retina) which is responsible for transmission of visual impulses to the brain. Just as in the old camera system, we can’t get a picture if the film is bad. Indeed, modern technology is yet to get a remedy for this. Science is yet to advance in the area of eye transplant (Smiles).

Danaa Samad: We pray! Are there types or REFRACTIVE errors

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Notably are: Myopia (short sightedness) – objects close are seen but those afar aren’t be seen. Usually begins in childhood and progressively worsen until 18 to 21 years. Hyperopia (long sightedness) – objects at close are blurred but those afar could be seen. Equally starts at childhood and progresses. Astigmatism- objects appears double to the affected person. Presbyopia – occurs at about age 40, is an inability to focus clearly on objects that are near.

Danaa Samad: How are these errors tested and diagnosed?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Testing usually consists of you reading a vision chart placed at a distance of 6metres whilst an assortment of lenses is used to maximize the patient’s vision. In advance clinics an array of imaging techniques is employed to enhance the accuracy of the final lenses to correct your defect. It is diagnosed by a qualified eye care professional after a comprehensive examination.   

Danaa Samad: What are the peculiar signs and symptoms?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: The individual sees blurred images even when others are seeing them clearly. Discomfort and fatigue with visual task. Headaches when attempting to do visual tasks which stops without medication once you stop doing the task. A disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects. Squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while doing a visual task. Children who get affected mostly perform poorly in school.

Danaa Samad: Can spectacles help correct these disorders well enough and must they be worn at all times?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Spectacles, contact lenses or refractive surgery are the surest ways to correct these disorders. Fortunately, an affected person can wear them all the time except to bed or bathroom. Eyeglasses are just like our clothes. With them on we aren’t naked but without them we are naked. Hence once you are with them your problem is solved and without them you are back to your problem.

Danaa Samad: Great! Is it true that diabetes affect vision and can they cause these errors as well?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Diabetes has a direct manifestation on our eyes. However, in resolving it one has to effectively manage the diabetes and it automatically resolves the disorder as well.

Danaa Samad: In general, what are the effects of refractive errors in our lives?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Retard Childhood Education- it affects development of better growth or performance in schools. Reduced productivity- people with uncorrected errors take much time to do their task. It could also lead to an upsurge in road accidents in the country, especially if majority of the population who ply our roads have uncorrected refractive errors.

Danaa Samad: Dr, how do we prevent and treat these disorders?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: They can’t be prevented but once diagnosed, can be effectively corrected with the appropriate aid (eyeglasses or contact lenses) and refractive surgery. This will ensure better concentration of children in school, increased productivity at various work places and a better quality of life.

Danaa Samad: Wonderful. Now let’s take some questions from our Readers.


Ghaniyu: Please what’s the difference between the presbyopia and hyperopia?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Presbyopia affects people of age 40 and above, whilst Hyperopia has an early onset. In a more related scenario, Presbyopia is as a result of weakness of one’s muscle tone responsible for our refocusing.

Barnabas. Dr. Can you please differentiate between the corrected glasses and contact lenses for me?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: Contact lenses are stuck to the cornea (front shinning area of the eye), whilst corrected eyeglasses are lenses fixed on frames. Contact lenses mostly are what we see in the movies, when actors have different eye colours.

Haadi: I have been wearing lenses for some time now to enable me read. However, in recent times, I could read without the lenses. Does that mean my eyes have healed or become better?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: You might have developed a cataract (hardening of the lens of the eye) and this enhances your near vision. So, it’s just a matter of time, you will enjoy the temporary relief but once the cataract matures and it’s operated. You will revert to your old self. So, enjoy the brief holiday from eyeglasses (smiles).

Yaa baby:

I never wore glasses when I was young. Why do I have to wear very strong lenses now that I am a bit older? Why can’t I see clearly without glasses?

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: You might have developed presbyopia. As a result of a lost in your focusing ability of the eyes as one age.

Danaa Samad: Dr, you have been so resourceful. Please give us your closing comments

Dr. Zakarea Al-hasan Balure: The Good Lord has blessed us all with a pair of eyes and as precious as they are, we should take care of them because they are our window to the world. Visit a reputable eye clinic near you annually for an eye check; please don’t only wait to get a problem before you go for eye checkup. As much as possible avoid self-medication and also don’t use prescribed eyeglasses especially the medicated ones.

Once again it has been a great privilege sharing my little experience/knowledge to this great platform. I ‘m most grateful for the latitude.

Danaa Samad: Thank you for your time and insightful engagement. We are equally most grateful. Thank you all for the attention. Have a restful night.

NB: Please don’t forget to share after reading for others to also benefit.

HUB EDITOR: Bassing. A.M.A. Kamal