1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

The Basics of Farsightedness

By

Updated March 23, 2009

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is a common eye problem. Farsighted people have difficulty seeing objects that are nearby. In severe cases of hyperopia, distance objects may appear blurry as well.

Signs and Symptoms

A farsighted person has difficulty focusing on nearby objects and may feel eyestrain, pain around the eyes, or a headache around the forehead. Headaches often occur because most people are able to compensate for farsightedness by subconsciously focusing harder. Unfortunately, because of this ability to compensate, many children with hyperopia often pass vision screenings given by schools and pediatricians. It is for this reason that it is important that all children have a complete eye exam fairly early in life.

Causes

Farsightedness occurs because of a defect of the eyeball. The eyeball of a farsighted person is shorter than normal, causing light to be focused behind the retina instead of directly on it. In some cases, the eye may be of normal length, but the cornea may be flatter than normal.

Diagnosis

Farsightedness is detected by a simple test called refraction. Young people are dilated during this test so they are unable to mask their farsightedness by accommodating their vision.

Farsightedness is usually detected early in life. Many children are born with hyperopia, but usually outgrow it, as the eyeball grows longer. In some cases children do not outgrow hyperopia. These children will need to be treated with corrective lenses. Children with uncorrected hyperopia may develop crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia). Prescribing glasses at an early age often prevents these conditions.

Farsightedness is often confused with presbyopia. Although presbyopia may also create problems focusing on things at a close range, it is caused by the gradual loss in flexibility of the eye's natural lens. Presbyopia affects most people around 40 years of age. Reading glasses or bifocals are generally prescribed for patients with presbyopia

Treatment

Farsightedness is easily treated with glasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgery is an option for adult patients who wish to see clearly without wearing glasses.

If you are farsighted, you may only need to wear glasses for reading or working on the computer. Depending on your age and the amount of farsightedness, you may have to wear them all of the time.

Related Video
Learn the Basics of Event Planning

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.