Hyperopia (Farsighted)

Hyperopia is another name for farsightedness.  Nearsighted people can see close up objects and have trouble with seeing objects at a distance.  Farsighted people have trouble focusing on objects in general due to a refractive error in the eyes.

Refraction is the bending of light.  When a light wave enters the eye, it is bent by the cornea as it makes its way through to land on the retina.  In a normal eye, the flexibility of the lens, the curvature of the cornea and the length of the eye work together to produce a clear image on the retina.  In a farsighted person, either the eye is too short or the cornea is too flat.  This causes the point of focus to occur behind the retina instead of on top of it. Hyperopia is an eye disorder.

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is generally present from birth.  It may not be instantly recognizable in mild cases, which can go undetected for years until the child is old enough to recognize images.  At that point, the farsightedness can become apparent.  It is quite normal for many children to be farsighted, especially when they are younger.  In many children, the farsightedness disappears before the teenage years.

Onset and Treatment
Although farsightedness is normally present at birth, the eye can correct itself naturally as it grows.  The eye stops growing around age nine.  If at that point there is still a small amount of farsightedness present, the lens of the eye may change its shape to fix the eyes’ vision, a process called accommodation.  Around age forty when the eyes start to degrade, the lens can lose its flexibility and this accommodation can disappear, resulting in a condition called presbyopia. Presbyopia is actually a natural symptom of the aging process and refers to the eyes’ diminishing ability to focus. Around this age people start having trouble the close work – any work that requires the eyes to focus on an object close to them. They may also have trouble seeing objects far away as well.

Symptoms hyperopia include headaches, aching eyes, eye strain and trouble seeing objects that are up close. A farsighted person may need to wear glasses or contacts or correct their vision or they may need no treatment at all as the eye can adjust to make up for the farsightedness. Farsightedness is common in children and often has no impact on the quality of life for the farsighted child in most mild cases. A child with hyperopia may rub their eyes a lot, complain of headaches, and may have trouble reading.  Hyperopia in children can be hard to detect.  For example, a child who has hyperopia may not stand very far away from the TV screen to see.  They may stand right up close to it.  This is because the farsighted child is used to not being able to focus on finer details and standing closer to the screen allows them to at least see blurry images.

Diagnosis of hyperopia can be made with a complete routine eye exam.  The exam consists of questions about the patient’s eye sight and a physical inspection of the eyes.  The eye doctor’s examination of the eyes consists of several tests.  A retinoscope allows the doctor to see the surface of the retina, while phoropter allows them to measure the refractive error of the eye and assign a prescription.

There is no path of prevention for hyperopia.  Taking care of your overall health is the best way to take care of your eye health.  If you notice your child is squinting a lot or sitting closer to the TV, or if they have trouble catching a tossed ball, they might be affected by hyperopia.  In adults, you may notice increased eye strain and headaches, trouble performing close work or aching eyes.