What Is Hyperopia?
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is when you see things that are far away better than things that are up close. Your eyes focus better on distant objects than on nearby ones.
Children who have mild to moderate farsightedness can see both close and far away without glasses because the muscles and lenses in their eyes can squint very well and overcome the farsightedness.
Your eyes focus light rays and send the image of what you’re looking at to your brain. When you’re farsighted, the light rays don’t focus the way they should.
The cornea, the clear outer layer of your eye, and the lens focus images directly on the surface of your retina, which lines the back of your eye. If your eye is too short, or the power to focus is too weak, the image will go to the wrong place, behind your retina. That’s what makes things look blurry.
You may have:
- Trouble focusing on nearby objects
- Blurry vision
- Eye strain
- Fatigue or headache after you do a close-up task such as reading
If you have these symptoms when you wear glasses or contacts, you may need a new prescription.
All it takes to diagnose farsightedness is a basic eye exam. Your doctor will have you read a chart across the room. If that test shows hyperopia, they’ll use a device called a retinoscope to look at how light reflects off your retina. They’ll also use a phoropter – a testing device -- to help them decide on the best prescription for glasses or contacts.
Adult eye exams
The American Academy of Ophthalmology says adults who haven’t had vision problems should get an eye exam at age 40. Have eye tests every 2 to 4 years between ages 40 and 54. Between 55 and 64, get tested every 1 to 3 years. If you’re 65 and older, get tested every 1 to 2 years.
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of eye disease, don’t wait until you’re 40 to have an eye exam. Your doctor also might want you to come in more often.
Children’s eye exams
Experts recommend that infants have their eye health checked when they’re between 6 months and 1 year old. Children should also have vision tests between ages 3 and 3½, before they start school, and every 1 to 2 years after.
For clear vision, you might need:
- Contact lenses
- Vision correction surgery such as LASIK
With farsightedness, your prescription is a positive number, such as +3.00. The higher the number, the stronger the lenses.
Talk to your eye doctor about your options, how well they work, and what’s involved.
Does Hyperopia Get Better Over Time?
It’s normal for your eyes to change as you get older. Adults over 40 who are farsighted often need reading glasses earlier in life. Eventually, you may also need glasses or contacts to help you see better at a distance.
Adults don’t usually have complications from hyperopia. Some children may have problems such as:
- Lazy eye (amblyopia)
- Eyes that aren’t aligned (strabismus)
- Delays in development
- Learning problems