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How do we see?

An eye works by focusing the light from what you are looking at on to your retina, which is like a cinema projector screen at the back of your eye. If that focus isn’t quite right, what you are looking at might appear blurry.


If your eye focuses the light from what you are looking at behind your retina, then you are long-sighted. This usually means you can see far away objects easily, but it is harder to see things closer to you.


If your eye focuses the light from what you are seeing in front of the retina, then you are short-sighted. This means that far away objects may be blurry but things closer to you are clear.


Normally, the front of your eye should be round, like a tennis ball. If you have astigmatism, the surface of your eye is oval shaped, like a rugby ball. That means that light is focused on more than one place in your eye, so you don’t see one clear picture, either up close or far away. Your eyes can also feel tired or you might get headaches.

Girl wearing glasses and headphones


If you have a squint, it means one of your eyes looks straight ahead while the other one looks in, out or up. This might make it difficult to see clearly or you might have double vision, which is where you look at something and see two of it. Quite a few children have a squint and there are lots of ways to help with it.

Usually a squint will be treated with glasses, eye patches or eye drops. If these don’t work, you might need to visit a hospital for a very short operation.

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Did you know…

Your eye blinks on average 16 times in one minute – that’s over 10,000 times per day!

How can your optometrist help?

It’s usually very easy to correct short or long-sightedness as well as astigmatism – with glasses or contact lenses. They help your eyes focus in the right place so you can see everything perfectly. Don’t worry, glasses or contact lenses will never make your eyes worse!