When people think of hyperopia (farsightedness), they seem to think that that person has super eyes that can zoom in on distant objects, but that’s not the case. Those with farsightedness, or hyperopia in medical circles, simply see distant objects clearer while near objects appear blurry. It’s an imperfection of the eye that prevents light from focusing on the retina, otherwise known as a refractive error.
Hyperopia can be caused by a number of different factors. In some cases, the shape of the eye is too short and so the visual image doesn’t have the space to properly reflect onto the retina. The cornea, or the lens, can also be the culprit, as their main responsibility is to focus that light onto your retina. In those cases, the cause could be an abnormal shape (not curved enough).
The American Optometric Association believes that all people have some degree of hyperopia. It’s present from birth and the severity of the condition will dictate whether corrective action is needed. In many cases, refractive errors will improve as the child’s eye grows and becomes longer. Studies have also shown that there are hereditary factors involved. The child of two parents with hyperopia is likely to need some form of correction for hyperopia in their lifetime.
Identifying & Diagnosing Hyperopia
You’ll have to visit our Optometrist to conduct a comprehensive eye and vision examination to determine if you do have hyperopia. The average screening test, like the one done when you got your driver’s license, only tests for visual acuity – the test that determines if you have 20/20 vision (or otherwise). They don’t assess for refractive errors like hyperopia or its cousin, myopia (otherwise known as nearsightedness).
The average adult should schedule a comprehensive exam once every two years. Our Optometrist will assess a number of different factors that could contribute to the health of your eyes. They include, but aren’t limited to:
- Patient and family health history;
- Visual acuity (the aforementioned test for 20/20 vision);
- Refraction testing (“better, worse or the same?”)
Treatment for hyperopia varies depending on severity and the lengths to which the patient is willing to go to remedy it. Eyeglasses and contact lenses are the simplest and most common remedy. Others may opt for refractive surgery, either in the form of LASIK (laser) or CK (non-laser).
If you find yourself having trouble with close tasks like reading, which leads to headaches and eyestrain, you should consider scheduling an examination.