What Is Farsightedness (Hyperopia)?
The hyperopic eye is too short, and therefore distance and near vision is blurry. Farsightedness (hyperopia) results when structural defects in the eye cause your vision to be blurry. If you are farsighted, you see distant objects more clearly than close objects, though both near and distant vision may be affected, and you may have trouble focusing when performing tasks such as reading or sewing. Although these defects (such as a shorter eyeball or a flat cornea) are often present early in life, normal development and lengthening of the eyeball during early childhood usually corrects the condition.
As you age, your eyes lose the ability to change the shape of the lens to focus on near objects. Farsightedness is often first noticed after age 40 when the eyes begin to lose their ability to accommodate. The age-related decline in focusing power, called presbyopia, makes farsightedness more apparent.
What Causes Farsightedness?
Farsightedness occurs when light entering the eye focuses behind the retina instead of directly on it. This happens when an eye is too short lengthwise, the cornea is not curved enough, or the lens sits farther back in the eye than normal.
Farsightedness often runs in families. In rare instances, some diseases such as retinopathy, eye tumors, and lens dislocation can also contribute to the development of farsightedness.
What Are the Symptoms of Farsightedness?
Symptoms of farsightedness can include blurred vision, difficulty seeing objects up close, aching eyes, eyestrain, and headaches.
Children with this condition may have no symptoms. A child with more severe farsightedness may get headaches or rub his or her eyes often. Difficulty or lack of interest in reading is another possible sign of farsightedness. Farsightedness also increases the risk for crossed eyes. Any child with crossed eyes should be seen by an ophthalmologist.
Normal Vision Farsightedness (Hyperopia)
Source: Healthwise, Incorporated
How is Farsightedness Diagnosed?
Farsightedness is usually diagnosed with a normal eye examination. Your health professional will take a medical history and perform a routine eye exam. Photoscreening, a method of vision screening that uses images captured from film or video, may be used to conduct an eye examination on young children who may have trouble with a normal test.
Your doctor may use eyedrops that enlarge the pupil and make accommodation impossible (cycloplegic drops), allowing the doctor to better examine the eye.
How is Farsightedness Treated?
Mild farsightedness often needs no treatment. Moderate farsightedness is usually corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. As you age and your eyes are not able to accommodate farsightedness as effectively, you will need eyeglasses or contact lenses. For severe farsightedness, you may choose to have surgery such as laser surgery (H-LASIK), photorefractive keratectomy (H-PRK), or intraocular lens implants (IOLs).
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