There are so many different aspects to your golf game. Be it club selection, the long drive, or perfecting your putt, each nuance of the game can affect your overall score.

But there is another factor that not only affects each aspect of your game, but your everyday life as well – your vision. Uncorrected vision problems, namely refractive errors, not only impact your day-to-day life, but can wreak havoc on the course.

Understanding Refractive Errors

There are four common refractive errors: myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on the first three and  discuss presbyopia at another time.

Myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness, makes it difficult to see objects that are far away. In other words, reading a scorecard would not be an issue, but reading a distance sign on the golf course would be a challenge.

Conversely, hyperopia (or farsightedness) causes problems with seeing close objects clearly. Someone with hyperopia could read the distant sign but not her scorecard.

Astigmatism is less about near or distance vision and more about a person’s ability to focus. Due to an irregularly curved cornea, someone with astigmatism often experiences blurry or distorted vision associated with the distance of an object.

In all cases, symptoms of refractive errors include haziness, glare around bright lights, squinting, or difficulty driving at night. They can also cause headaches, eye strain, or double vision.

Not only can this impact life in general, but an uncorrected refractive error could increase your golf handicap.

The Long and Short of Refractive Errors on the Course

People with myopia may have issues with their long game. Because distance objects can appear blurry, you may have difficulty judging where sand traps or water hazards stop or start. Similarly, the green or pin may be difficult to precisely place, adding strokes to your game.

On the flip side, hyperopia can affect your short game. The pin may appear to be inches closer, further, or to the left or right of where it actually is. And, in a game where inches can result in making a birdie or par, precision is key.

Finally, astigmatism can affect your short and long games. The distortion that is common in astigmatism can cause you to miscalculate both distance and location of the green and pin, as well as the hazards along the course.

Treat your vision, improve your game

While refractive errors cannot be prevented, they can be easily treated by an eye care professional. Once you have been diagnosed with a refractive error, your doctor may prescribe corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses, or even refractive surgery such as LASIK.

If you decide on glasses, be sure to talk with your eye care professional about lens options, and let them know you are a golfer, as certain lens materials can be used to support your sport.

Then hit the links with improved vision that can, in turn, improve your game.