Hyperopia: What is Farsightedness?

Hyperopia is commonly known as farsightedness. It means that things that are far away are clearly seen while things up close are blurry.
Hyperopia tends to be less common than myopia, which is nearsightedness. According to the National Eye Institute, 5 to 10 percent of Americans have hyperopia.

Hyperopia Explained

To further explain farsightedness, let us first discuss how the normal eye functions. Cornea and lens are the two parts of the eye that are used for focusing. The cornea is a transparent film that covers the surface of the eyes. The lens, on the other hand, changes shape to refract or bend light and focuses that light onto the retina.

The retina is located at the back of your eyeball. It sends images to your brain. The visual information coming from the retina travels through the optic nerve going to the brain. The normal eye has a perfectly curved lens and cornea. This allows the person to see clear and sharp images. However, if there are deformities in the curve of your cornea and lens, then your eye may not be capable of focusing accurately.

There are different levels of farsightedness. The degree of your hyperopia is determined by the ability of your eyes to focus on up-close objects. If your vision can only see clearly from far away, then you might be suffering from severe farsightedness. Normally, hyperopia can be correct with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Higher degrees of hyperopia may require refractive surgery.

Hyperopia

Causes

The primary reason for farsightedness is a deformity in your eyes. A cornea without a curve or a flat one can cause farsightedness. If the shape of your eyeballs is shorter than normal, it may also cause farsightedness.

These deformities can cause light to focus beyond your retina instead of focusing on it. Genetical components may also play a role in developing hyperopia. It is more likely you’ll inherit hyperopia if both of your parents have it.

Symptoms

The early signs you would notice if you are farsighted are problems with seeing closer things and eyestrain. Eyestrain is caused by overworking your eyes to see things up close. Here are other signs and symptoms that may indicate hyperopia:

  • a tendency to squint often
  • aching or burning sensation on the eyes
  • headache especially when doing tasks that require focusing on something up close
  • blurry vision for objects up close
  • squinting to see better

Strabismus (crossed eyes) in children can also develop when severe farsightedness has not been corrected.

Diagnosis

Farsightedness may easily be diagnosed with a basic eye examination.

  • Eye Chart. Your vision will be checked at different distances with an eye chart.
  • Dilated Eye Exam. Conditional on the results from the eye chart, your doctor may require additional eye exams. In a dilated eye exam, your doctor will dilate your pupils through eye drops. This way, your doctor may see the back of your eyes more clearly with dilated eyes.
  • Magnifying Lens. To examine more closely to your eyes, your doctor may utilize a magnifying lens.
  • Corrective Lenses. To evaluate the degree of your hyperopia, you may be asked to test a variety of lenses in order to prescribe the correct grade and power of your prescription glasses.

Hyperopia in Children

Routine eye exams conducted in schools may miss hyperopia in children. Generally, schools are only mandated to conduct far vision tests using a Snellen’s chart. If a child cannot read clearly from afar, then it may be concluded to be nearsightedness.

It is important to pay attention to your child’s vision. If a child did not pass a vision test at school, then parents should schedule a check-up as soon as possible. This will help correct any refractive errors before it gets too severe. The close-up vision of a child must not be overlooked to catch hyperopia before it gets to an untreatable degree.

If you notice any signs of squinting, headache complaints, and difficulties in reading or blurry vision in your child, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

Hyperopia

Treatment

The simplest and primary ways to correct farsightedness are prescription glasses and contact lenses. Mild farsightedness usually starts with prescription eyewear as a treatment option. These corrective lenses change the way light is refracted in your eyes. With the right prescription, your eyeglasses will help you focus better on objects up close or far away.

For more severe cases of hyperopia, refractive surgery is advised. This may include an option like LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis). Contrary to the common understanding that LASIK treats only nearsightedness, it may also treat farsightedness. LASIK is a procedure assisted with a laser to change the curvature of your cornea curvature to improve how light is refracted on your retina.

Take note that refractive surgeries may pose risks despite its promising results. It is not as simple as wearing glasses. The effects of surgery are normally permanent and irreversible.

Prevention

Hyperopia is not something you could easily prevent especially if it runs in your family. However, you may do these simple steps to keep your eyes healthier:

  • Visit your doctor regularly to catch possible refractive errors early
  • Have your chronic conditions examined at least once a year to avoid having related complications in your eyes. High blood pressure and diabetes are some of the chronic conditions that can affect your vision.
  • Follow strictly your doctor’s treatment plan especially if you have ongoing eye problems such as glaucoma
  • Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any changes, pain, or discharge in your eyes

Keep in mind that doing tasks with a good source of light can prevent eyestrain. This will help you keep your eyes healthier and may help in protecting your close-up vision. Do not forget to take breaks throughout the day to rest your eyes.

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