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Farsightedness (Hyperopia): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Farsightedness, also called hyperopia, is a vision condition in which you can see distant objects clearly, but the close objects are blurry. The condition can be present at birth and tends to run in families.

What Causes Hyperopia? [1]

The cornea and lens, both parts of the eye work together to bend or refract, incoming light. The cornea is the clear front surface of the eye and the lens is a structure inside the eye that can change its shape (with the help of muscles attached to it) allowing you to focus on objects.

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The cornea and the lens focus on the light that enters your retina and allows you to see a perfectly focused image. But, if the shape of the cornea is flat or if your eyeball is shorter than normal, your eye can't focus correctly on objects. This means that your cornea can't refract light properly, so the point of focus falls behind the retina, which makes the closer objects blurry.

Symptoms Of Hyperopia

  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Fatigue
  • Squinting to see clearly
  • Burning or aching sensation around or in the eyes.
  • Complications Of Hyperopia
  • Affects the quality of your life
  • Squinting or straining of the eyes
  • Crossed eyes
  • Your safety can be at risk
  • Financial burden

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When To See A Doctor

If you can't see clearly and your quality of vision is reduced, consult an ophthalmologist. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends regular eye exams for children and adults.

Children and adolescents [2]

Once children complete the age of 6 months, they should have their first eye check-up. After that, they should undergo a comprehensive eye check-up at 3 years. Also, children should be screened every two years during their school years.

Adults [3]

If you are at an increased risk of eye diseases like glaucoma, get an eye check-up done from the age of 40, every 2-4 years between ages 40 and 54, every 1-3 years between ages 55 and 64, and every 1-2 years when you are 65 years of age.

Diagnosis Of Hyperopia

A basic eye examination is done and depending on the results, a dilated eye exam will be recommended, wherein the doctor puts drops in your eyes to make your pupils widen. It allows the doctor to see the back of your eye more clearly.

Treatment Of Hyperopia

Prescription lenses

Depending on the severity of farsightedness, you will need prescription lenses to improve your close vision. It will help counteract the decreased curvature of your cornea.

The types of prescription lenses include are eyeglasses and contact lenses. Eyeglasses come in different variety which includes bifocals, single vision, trifocals and progressive multifocals.

Contact lenses are also found in a variety of designs and materials. Always consult a doctor before wearing contact lenses.

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Refractive surgery [4]

  • Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) - The eye surgeon will make a thin, hinged flap into your cornea, after which a laser is used to adjust the curves of the cornea. The recovery process of this surgery is rapid and causes less discomfort.
  • Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK) - The surgeon makes an ultra-thin flap in the cornea's outer-protective cover (epithelium) and then uses a laser to reshape the cornea's outer layers, thus changing its curve and then replacing the epithelium.
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) - In this procedure, the surgeon removes the cornea's outer-protective cover (epithelium) completely and then uses the laser to reshape the cornea. The epithelium then grows back naturally according to your cornea's new shape.

Prevention Of Hyperopia

  • Get regular or yearly eye check-ups done.
  • Reduce your eye strain by looking away from your computer every 20 minutes for 20 seconds about 20 feet away.
  • Use good lighting while reading a book.
  • Avoid smoking as it adversely affects your eye health.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV radiation.
  • Wear protective eyewear while playing sports, painting or using products that emit toxic fumes.
  • If you are suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, keep them under control as they can affect your vision.

FAQs About Hyperopia

Q. Does farsightedness improve with age?

A. Children with mild to moderate hyperopia can see both close and far away objects without any problem because the muscles and lenses in the eyes can squint very well and hyperopia can be improved.

Q. Will your vision get worse if you don't wear glasses all the time?

A. Eyeglasses are given to make you see better and reduce eyestrain that may cause eye pain, headache as well as fatigue.

Q. Does hyperopia worsen with age?

A. As you age, your vision becomes poor. By the of age 40, your eyes naturally start to lose the ability to focus on close objects, which is called presbyopia. If presbyopia gets worse, both near and far vision will become blurred.

Q. How do you distinguish hyperopia (farsighted) patient from presbyopia (normal, age-related trouble with near vision) patient as they come in with their symptoms?

A. Both these eye conditions have similar symptoms of decreased near vision. If your eye test shows no correction and you are above 40 years, then you are most likely to have presbyopia, a condition where the eye lens loses its mobility causing decreased near vision.

And people under the age of 40 who cannot see close objects suffer from hyperopia, which is confirmed with a test showing a hyperopic refractive error.

View Article References
  1. [1] Castagno, V. D., Fassa, A. G., Carret, M. L., Vilela, M. A., & Meucci, R. D. (2014). Hyperopia: a meta-analysis of prevalence and a review of associated factors among school-aged children.BMC ophthalmology,14, 163.
  2. [2] Borchert, M. S., Varma, R., Cotter, S. A., Tarczy-Hornoch, K., McKean-Cowdin, R., Lin, J. H., … Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study and the Baltimore Pediatric Eye Disease Study Groups (2011). Risk factors for hyperopia and myopia in preschool children the multi-ethnic pediatric eye disease and Baltimore pediatric eye disease studies.Ophthalmology,118(10), 1966–1973.
  3. [3] Iribarren, R., Hashemi, H., Khabazkhoob, M., Morgan, I. G., Emamian, M. H., Shariati, M., & Fotouhi, A. (2015). Hyperopia and Lens Power in an Adult Population: The Shahroud Eye Study.Journal of ophthalmic & vision research,10(4), 400–407.
  4. [4] Wilson, S. E. (2004). Use of lasers for vision correction of nearsightedness and farsightedness.New England Journal of Medicine,351(5), 470-475.

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