Farsightedness / Hyperopia
Farsightedness, also called hyperopia, is a common type of refractive error. To achieve perfect vision, light must be focused directly on the retina of the eye. In hyperopia, light focuses behind the retina, causing vision impairment. Many people with farsightedness will see faraway objects more clearly than objects that are nearby. People with more severe farsightedness, however, may experience blurry vision for objects at all ranges of vision.
Causes & Symptoms of Farsightedness
Farsightedness is usually caused by the eye being shorter than normal, which prevents light from focusing on the retina. An abnormally shaped cornea or lens of the eye can also cause farsightedness. Hyperopia occurs in 5 – 10% of Americans, both children and adults alike. It tends to run in families, so if one of your parents is farsighted, you are more likely to be farsighted.
Farsightedness affects each individual differently. Some of the most common symptoms of hyperopia include:
- Blurry vision when viewing objects in the near range of vision
- Squinting to see clearly
- Eyestrain or headaches, especially after doing near range tasks, such as reading, writing, or using the computer
Checking for farsightedness and other refractive errors is a part of any complete eye exam. Usually patients make an appointment with Dr. Semaan because they are experiencing blurred vision or are aware that they aren’t seeing properly. Occasionally Dr. Semaan diagnoses farsightedness during a routine exam in which no vision disturbances were reported by the patient. This is most often the case if they have had farsightedness from childhood or it developed very slow over many years.
Treatments for Hyperopia
Farsightedness is very treatable. The goal of treatment is to help light focus on the retina, rather than behind it. This can be done through corrective lenses (eyeglasses or contact lenses) or with refractive surgery. Farsightedness tends to get worse with age, so treatment is not always required in childhood, but it will likely be needed by adulthood.
- Glasses: Prescription eyeglasses are the most popular and common way to correct hyperopia. They work by counteracting the abnormal shape of the eye or cornea to allow light to focus correctly on the retina.
- Contact lenses: Like glasses, contact lenses work by bending light so that it focuses on the retina instead of behind it. Contacts may be a better choice for individuals who do not like the way glasses look or feel, or for those with very active lifestyles.
- Refractive surgery: Rather than adjusting for the shape of the cornea, the goal of refractive surgery is to permanently change the shape of the cornea. A successful surgery can decrease or eliminate the need for corrective lenses, especially if hyperopia was the only vision problem present. There are several different types of refractive surgeries, including LASIK eye surgery, that can be used to treat hyperopia.
Schedule an Eye Exam with Dr. Semaan
Whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of farsightedness, it’s important to attend regular eye exams. Dr. Semaan is a highly educated and skilled optometrist who has been treating patients for all types of refractive disorders, including hyperopia, for many years. Please contact us today to schedule your eye exam.