What Is Farsightedness?

When you’re able to see things fine when they’re far away, but everything gets blurry up close, you’re probably farsighted. This is also is called hyperopia. It means that the eye focuses better on distant objects than on those that are close.

Children with mild to moderate farsightedness can see both close and far away without correction, because the muscles and lenses in their eyes can squint very well and overcome the farsightedness.

But as you get older, it gets harder to squint well, which makes it tougher to focus on things in the distance.

Causes

Your eyes bend light rays to transmit the image of what you’re looking at to the brain. When you’re farsighted, the light rays don’t bend correctly. The cornea, which is the clear outer layer of the eye, and the lens focus images directly on the surface of the retina, which lines the back of the eye. If the eye is too short, or the power to focus is too weak, the image is focused on the wrong place, behind the retina. That makes things look blurry.

Hyperopia often runs in families. But lots of children who get it from their parents outgrow it.

Symptoms

You may have

· Trouble focusing on nearby objects

· Headaches

· Blurred vision

· Eye strain

· Fatigue or headache after you do a close-up task such as reading

If you have these symptoms of farsightedness when you wear glasses or contact lenses, you may need a new prescription.

Diagnosis and Treatment

All it takes to diagnose farsightedness is a basic eye exam. Glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery can correct it.

If you’re very farsighted, you may need to wear glasses or contacts all the time. But sometimes you only need them to see objects up close, like when you read or sew.

With farsightedness, your prescription is a positive number, such as +3.00. The higher the number, the stronger the lenses.

If wearing contacts or glasses isn't for you, eye surgery may be the answer. The most common procedure to correct farsightedness is LASIK. In this procedure, the doctor creates a flap on the top of the cornea, then uses a laser to sculpt your internal corneal tissue. Then the flap is moved back into place. LASIK is the most common surgery used to correct farsightedness.

Talk to your eye doctor about your options, how well they work, and what’s involved.

Continued

Does Farsightedness Change Over Time?

It’s normal for your eyes to change as you get older. Adults over 40 who are already farsighted often need reading glasses earlier in life. Eventually, you may also need glasses or contacts to help you see better in the distance.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on September 12, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Yanoff, M; Duker, J. Ophthalmology, Mosby, 2008.

National Eye Institute: "Facts About Refractive Errors" and "Facts About Hyperopia."

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