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Farsightedness (Hyperopia)

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is a vision problem that affects about 25 percent of the population. People who are farsighted are able to see objects clearly that are far away but have difficulty focusing on objects that are close up. Fortunately, farsightedness is easily corrected with prescription eyewear or refractive surgery.

What is farsightedness?

Farsightedness is a visual defect caused by an imperfection in the shape of the eye. The cornea is either too flat or too short, which causes images to focus at a point behind the retina rather than directly on the retina. As objects move closer to the eye, the cornea is unable to keep the image in focus, resulting in blurry vision close up.

Symptoms of farsightedness

Farsightedness can be diagnosed with a simple eye exam. Some of the symptoms of farsightedness include: 

  • Close-up objects may appear blurry 
  • Aching eyes 
  • Eyestrain and headache from reading 
  • Crossed eyes (strabismus) in children

People who are farsighted may experience headaches and eyestrain when performing close up tasks like reading, working on a computer, writing, or drawing.

Causes of farsightedness

The two parts of the eye that are responsible for focusing on images are the cornea and the lens. People who see clearly at all distances have a perfectly smooth curvature of the cornea and lens of the eye. Farsightedness is caused by a genetic imperfection in the shape of the cornea – the eye is either too flat or too short. As a result, light does not refract properly on the eye, causing close up images to become blurry.

Treatment of farsightedness

Farsightedness is a common vision problem and is relatively easy to correct. The goal of treatment is to help focus light directly on the retina rather than behind the retina. This can be achieved with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.

For individuals who do not wish to wear corrective lenses, refractive eye surgery is another option. During these procedures, the cornea is reshaped with a laser. Refractive eye surgeries like LASIK have been proven both effective and safe. Talk to an eye doctor to find out if laser vision correction is right for you.