Farsightedness (Hyperopia)

What is Farsightedness?

Farsightedness is a condition that is also referred to in medical terms as hyperopia. When a person suffers from this vision disorder, they can see objects that are far away from them with good clarity and can focus on those objects easily. However, objects that are closer to that person will appear blurry and out of focus.

Farsightedness is a condition that can vary a great deal in severity. While most people who are farsighted have the condition at birth, it may not be severe enough to be noticed at first. This vision condition is not necessarily considered to be a genetic condition, but it does have a tendency to run in families.

Hyperopia is caused by what is known as a refractive error. This particular refractive error occurs when the cornea is not sufficiently curved or the eye is considered to be too short. When this happens, it makes focusing the eye more difficult for closer objects base on the alignment of the cornea with the lens of the eye.

What are the Symptoms of Farsightedness?

When a person suffers from farsightedness, the most obvious sign of the condition is difficulty seeing or focusing on objects that are near to the person. This can also include being able to focus on a near object but not being able to maintain that focus for more than an instant.

Oftentimes in children especially, but in adults as well, they may not realize that they cannot properly see near objects making other signs more prevalent. Some of these other symptoms of farsightedness include trouble concentrating, chronic headaches, sore eyes, eye fatigue or general fatigue, burning eyes, and eye strain.

A person who is farsighted may also seem irritable, particularly if they are trying to focus or concentrate for a long period of time. Squinting in an effort to see better is also common.

Farsightedness Causes

Hyperopia, more commonly known as farsightedness, is caused when the eyeball is too short from front to back or when either the lens or cornea is flat. When your eye is shorter than is optimal, light coming into your eye does not land right onto your retina. Instead, it lands in your eye behind your retina. This means that close objects will appear blurry. If your cornea or lens is flat, the lack of curvature also causes light to refract inaccurately, which in turn causes difficulty seeing things up close.

The condition of farsightedness has long been believed to be caused by heredity. In much less common circumstances, complications from diabetes can also cause farsightedness. On rare occasions, a dislocation of the eye’s lens or a tumor in the eye can bring about hyperopia.

How is Farsightedness Treated?

Corrective lenses can help to alleviate the symptoms of farsightedness and help a person see close objects more clearly. Both glasses and contacts can be used to correct vision, though if a farsighted person also has other eye conditions, contacts may not always be the best option.

There are also refractive surgery options that may permanently correct a person’s farsightedness. These surgeries are designed with the aim of reshaping or correcting the misshapen of the cornea. Laser surgery as well as other options can correct farsightedness successfully in many cases.

Farsightedness Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the condition of farsightedness, but there are many things that you can do to prevent eye damage that can further safeguard your vision. Eating brightly colored fruits and vegetables with high levels of vitamins A and C, like pumpkin and kale, support optimal eye health.

Good preventative care for eye health also includes blocking your eyes from excessive UV ray exposure and taking care of health conditions you may have that can affect your eyes, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Of course, everyone should have regular eye exams to screen for changes in vision and diseases of the eye.

To prevent eyestrain from farsightedness, eye health professionals recommend keeping your office area well-lit and free of glare. Taking a brief eye break every hour by looking away from a computer screen and momentarily focusing on a distant object is also recommended. If you work with machinery or hazardous fluids, make sure to wear adequate eye protection to safeguard your vision.

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Last Reviewed:
September 21, 2016
Last Updated:
December 21, 2017