Long-sightedness, also known as ‘hyperopia’ or ‘far-sightedness’, makes it difficult to focus on objects close up.
Age-related long-sightedness is known as ‘presbyopia’. Both types of long-sightedness are perfectly normal and easily treated.
Hyperopia is a common refractive error, also known as farsightedness. Farsighted people see things best when they are very far away but have trouble seeing things that are closer.
Hyperopia occurs when light entering the eye comes into focus behind the retina instead of precisely on the retina. This can be caused by a cornea that is too flat, by an eye that is too short, or by a combination of both problems. People with mild hyperopia can still see things that are far away, but people with severe hyperopia can have trouble seeing clearly, even at a distance. In addition, hyperopia often becomes worse as the eyes lose focusing power with age.
Symptoms of long-sightedness
If you find it difficult to focus on things close up or if objects near to you appear blurry, it could be a sign that you suffer from long-sightedness.
Long-sightedness makes reading difficult, particularly if the text is small. You may find yourself squinting often or holding books and newspapers at arm’s length so that you can focus on the text.
Many long-sighted people suffer sore and tired eyes from over-straining them in an effort to view things close up. Headaches from eye strain are also a common symptom among people with long-sightedness.
Causes of long-sightedness
There are various causes of long-sightedness including age, genetics and certain underlying medical conditions; such as diabetes (where there is too much glucose in the blood).
Long-sightedness is a refractive error caused by an imperfection in the eye. The imperfection changes the way your eye focuses the light rays that pass into it. This can happen when:
- The eyeball is shorter than normal
- The cornea is less curved than normal
- The lens is thinner than normal
When any of these imperfections occur, it changes the focusing point of the eye so that light rays focus behind your retina, instead of onto it. This causes near images to appear out of focus and blurred. Distance objects still appear clear because they do not need as much focusing power, so they focus on your retina properly.
Hyperopia is believed to be an inherited condition, which means you are more likely to suffer long-sightedness if one of your parents has it. Hyperopia can develop in childhood, although symptoms are most common among adults.
Presbyopia is age-related long-sightedness and often becomes more noticeable after the age of 40.
Treatment for long-sightedness
Hyperopia can be diagnosed easily by your eye care professional. People with long-sightedness generally have good vision aside from the refractive error. Treatments for hyperopia are designed to change the way that light rays are bent when they enter the eye so that they come into a point of focus precisely on the retina. These treatments may include prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that compensate for the eye’s inability to focus.
Another treatment option is refractive surgery, where the cornea is reshaped to change the way it bends entering light rays. Hyperopia can also be treated by implanting a prescription lens inside the eye where it works with the rest of the eye’s natural focusing system to refocus light rays precisely on the retina.
When hyperopia causes blurry vision, these treatments may help restore clearer vision, making daily activities much easier.