Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see distant objects clearly, but objects nearby may be blurry.
The degree of your farsightedness determines your focusing ability. People with severe farsightedness may see clearly only objects a great distance away, while those with mild farsightedness may be able to clearly see objects that are closer.
Farsightedness usually is present at birth and tends to run in families. You can easily correct this condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Another treatment option is surgery.
Farsightedness may mean:
When to see a doctor
Since it may not always be readily apparent that you're having trouble with your vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following intervals for regular eye exams:
If you're at high risk of certain eye diseases, such as glaucoma, the frequency of visits should be increased to:
If you wear glasses or contacts, you'll likely need to have your eyes checked every year. Ask your eye doctor how frequently you need to schedule your appointments. But, if you notice any problems with your vision, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible, even if you've recently had an eye exam. Blurred vision, for example, may suggest you need a prescription change, or it could be a sign of another problem.
Children and adolescents
Additionally, it's recommended that school-age children be screened at school or through community programs approximately every two years to check for vision problems.
Your eye has two parts that focus images:
In a perfectly shaped eye, each of these focusing elements has a perfectly smooth curvature like the surface of a rubber ball. A cornea and lens with such curvature bend (refract) all incoming light in such a way as to make a sharply focused image directly on the retina, at the back of your eye.
A refractive error
Farsightedness occurs when your cornea is curved too little or your eye is shorter than normal. Instead of being focused precisely on your retina, light is focused behind your retina, resulting in a blurry appearance for close-up objects.
Other refractive errors
Anatomy of the eye
Your eye is a complex and compact structure measuring about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter. It receives millions of pieces of information about the outside world, which are quickly processed by ...
With normal vision, an image is sharply focused onto the retina. But, if you're farsighted, your cornea doesn't refract light properly, so the point of focus falls behind the retina. This makes close-...
Farsightedness can be associated with several problems, such as:
Preparing for your appointment
Three kinds of eye specialists, each with different training and experience, can provide routine eye care:
No matter which type of eye specialist you choose, here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For farsightedness, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
Farsightedness is diagnosed by a basic eye exam. A complete eye examination involves a series of tests. Your eye doctor may use odd-looking instruments, aim bright lights directly at your eyes and request that you look through an array of lenses. Each test allows your doctor to examine a different aspect of your eyes, including your vision.
Treatments and drugs
The goal of treating farsightedness is to help to focus light on the retina through the use of corrective lenses or refractive surgery.
Wearing corrective lenses treats farsightedness by counteracting the decreased curvature of your cornea or the smaller size (length) of your eye. Types of corrective lenses include:
If you're also having age-related trouble with close vision (presbyopia), monovision contact lenses may be an option for you. With monovision contacts, you may not need correction for the eye you use for distance vision (usually the dominant eye), but a contact lens can be used for close-up vision in your other eye. Some people have trouble adapting to this kind of vision because 3-D vision is sacrificed in order to be able to see both nearby and in the distance clearly. Monovision contacts can be worn intermittently as desired.
Modified monovision contact lenses are another option. With this type of contact lenses, you can wear a bifocal contact lens in your nondominant eye and a contact lens prescribed for distance in your dominant eye. You can then use both eyes for distance and one eye for seeing objects nearby.
Some of the possible complications that can occur after refractive surgery include:
Discuss the potential risks and benefits of these procedures with your eye doctor.
Although you can't prevent farsightedness, you can help protect your eyes and your vision. Follow these steps:
Last Updated: 2012-04-24
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