What is hyperopia?
Hyperopia (or Hypermetropia) are often referred to by the terms farsightedness or long-sightedness. This is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually more seen clearly than objects at near.
Hyperopia is not a disease, nor does it mean that you have "bad eyes." It simply means that you have a variation in the shape of your eyeball possibly causing blurred images and other symptoms.
What are the symptoms of hyperopia?
It would be easy to say that hyperopia causes nearer objects to be blurry, but it is more difficult that that. In our advanced years, usually after 40, hyperopia will make near objects blurry for sure. Yet sometimes in our younger years, close objects can still be clear. Hyperopia means that they are clear because we are taking more time and effort to bring them into proper focus. Because of this extra use of our muscles to see at near, hyperopia can cause the eyes to experience blurred vision, headaches, and eyestrain.
Since hyperopia makes it difficult to focus on objects that are close up, such as a book or a tablet, reading may be less enjoyable. In children, hyperopia can even result in poor reading skills and a disinterest in learning.
What causes hyperopia?
Good vision occurs when light is focused directly onto the retina. Hyperopia most commonly occurs because the eyeball is either too short (from front to back) or not powerful enough to focus an image onto the retina. The image is focused behind the retina, as pictured above. When the image is not directed onto the retina, it is interpreted to us as a "blur." Exactly why eyeball shape varies is not known, but the tendency for farsightedness does run in families. Environmental factors may be involved too, but to a lesser degree than heredity.
Who develops hyperopia?
Believe it or not, there are many more patients in the world with hyperopia than myopia (nearsightedness). It is estimated that over half the people who wear eyeglasses are wearing them because of a focusing problem due to farsightedness or presbyopia, a natural decrease in focusing ability at near distance.
Many people have some degree of farsightedness, yet it is only a problem if it significantly affects the ability to see well or causes the other symptoms listed above. The degree of variation will determine whether or not you will need corrective lenses.
How is hyperopia diagnosed?
Hyperopia is diagnosed in the course of a thorough eye examination by our optometrists. It is sad to say that hyperopia is seldom diagnosed in school eye-screening tests, which typically test only the ability to see objects at a distance.
In some cases, it may be necessary for our optometrists to use drops during the examination to relax the eye muscles and ensure that the full degree of hyperopia is detected. This test, called a cycloplegic examination, is necessary because the muscles which focus the eye are so accustomed to being used to compensate for the hyperopia that the muscles go into "spasm" and cannot relax without being forced to do so.
How is hyperopia treated?
To correct for hyperopia, convex lenses (plus powered lenses) are prescribed to bend light rays more sharply and bring them into focus on the retina. If you do not have other vision problems such as astigmatism, you may only need glasses for reading or other tasks performed at a close range. The convex lenses can either be in the form of spectacle lenses or contact lenses. In some instances, refractive surgeries such as LASIK can be performed.
To determine the best avenue of treatment, questions about your lifestyle, occupation, daily activities and general health status may be asked by our optometrists and the team at Visualeyes Optometry. Providing candid, considered answers to the questions will help assure that your corrective lenses contribute to clear sight and general comfort.
What is the prognosis for hyperopia?
Generally hyperopia can get worse over the years, especially after the age of 40 when our focusing ability diminishes. A yearly comprehensive eye examination by our optometrists will ensure that minor changes in vision are diagnosed and treated so that your vision will remain as clear and comfortable as possible.