Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

What is hyperopia?

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, as it is medically termed, is a visual condition in which distant objects are easier to see than near objects.

Why does hyperopia occur?

If the length of your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, near objects cannot be brought into a sharp and clearly focused image on the retina. Hyperopia may be hereditary or it may result from environmental factors.

How does hyperopia affect vision?

If you are farsighted, you involuntarily exert extra effort to maintain clear distance vision and even greater effort to see clearly at close range. This extra effort can cause fatigue, tension, discomfort and headaches. If the crystalline lens of the eye cannot bring the object into focus, blurred vision occurs.

How common is hyperopia?

Many people have some degree of hyperopia without knowing it. The condition may only become a problem if it significantly affects a person’s ability to see. However, symptoms can be avoided by seeing your optometrist regularly to assess your refractive error and prescribe glasses to correct the problem. It is estimated that over half the people who wear glasses are wearing them because of a focusing problem due to hyperopia or presbyopia, a natural decrease in focusing ability that occurs with age. Hyperopia can easily be overlooked with a simple vision screening.

What are the signs and symptoms of hyperopia?

Common signs and symptoms of hyperopia include difficulty in concentrating and maintaining a clear focus on near objects, blurred vision, eye strain, fatigue and/or headaches after close work, aching or burning eyes, poor reading ability and general tension.

How is hyperopia detected?

Farsightedness can be effectively diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. Sight testing and common vision screenings, often done in schools, are generally ineffective in detecting people with hyperopia. This is because these individuals can identify the letters on an eye chart in the distance with little difficulty.

How is hyperopia treated?

In mild cases, your eyes may be able to compensate adequately without the need for corrective lenses in the distance, although glasses for reading and computer use may be indicated. In more severe cases, your optometrist may recommend glasses or contact lenses for full-time wear. For appropriate candidates, laser surgery can be considered.

How will hyperopia affect my lifestyle?

If glasses or contact lenses are prescribed, it may take a few days to adjust to them. After that, farsightedness will probably not significantly affect your lifestyle.