Category: Eye Health

Introduction to Farsightedness – Hyperopia

Longsightedness is a Fairly Common and Treatable Condition

Farsightedness is a vision problem caused by a short eyeball or a lens that is not flexible enough to maintain a stretched shape under natural conditions of focusing.

It has been estimated that up to a quarter of the United States population is hyperopic.

The scientific term for the condition is hyperopia. With hyperopia, the focusing mechanism results in an image of a near object that lies beyond the retina instead of on it. As an object comes nearer, the power of the cornea and lens are not enough to keep the image focused on the retina and the image appears blurred. Children can commonly be born with the condition yet eventually outgrow it as their eyeballs lengthen.


The Experience of Farsightedness

Farsighted individuals may experience headaches and fatigue easily when performing close range work. There is difficulty concentrating and focusing on near objects. The eye is easily strained in such situations and may be exacerbated by the compensatory mechanism of squinting. Wearing contact lenses with hydrogel material at reasonable prices can help in preventing the eye strain.

The condition is difficult to detect during common vision screenings in school and is often only diagnosed by an ophthalmologist through an optometric examination. In detecting hyperopia, a wet refraction test may be used whereby the pupils of the eyes are dilated so that the eyes’ accommodative reflex cannot hide the condition.

Classifying the Condition

An ophthalmologist may term the condition by clinical appearance as being simple, pathological or functional. The condition is often categorized according to the amount of an element known as refractive error. This term quantifies the inability of the eye’s focusing mechanism to bend light to a suitable extent and is commonly measured in diopters. Low hyperopia involves a refractive error of around +2 diopters or less. Moderate hyperopia involves a refractive error of between +2.25 and +5 diopters while severe hyperopia involves a refractive error of around +5.25 diopters or more. In relation to the focusing mechanism of the eye, hyperopia can be further classified into several subtypes.

Treating the Condition

The type of treatment used can depend on factors that include age, lifestyle, and occupation. Accommodation, whereby the lens shape is altered to help focus the image onto the retina, in younger patients can compensate for farsightedness and children with the condition have a good chance of outgrowing it. Minor or low hyperopia can often be left uncorrected without any significant vision problems or complications. With increasing severity of hyperopia, there may be a need to correct with the use of convex lenses in eyeglasses or weekly contact lenses with multiple colors blending for having a natural depth to the eyes at the same time. Refractive surgery like that involved in LASIK surgery is often an effective solution to correcting specific types of hyperopia.