Farsightedness: Causes and corrective treatments

Farsightedness is a common vision defect that makes it difficult to focus on near objects. People with severe hyperopia can only focus on objects that are far away, or they cannot focus at all.

It happens when the eyeball or the lens is too short, or the cornea is too flat.

Also known as long-sightedness or hyperopia, it affects between 5 and 10 percent of the United States (U.S.) population.

It can either develop as the muscles weaken from approximately 40 years of age onwards, also known as presbyopia, or be present from birth.

Signs and symptoms

[Farsightedness creates visual difficulty]
Farsightedness creates difficulty with clearly viewing close-up objects.

The most common signs and symptoms of farsightedness:

objects nearby appear blurry

the person needs to squint or strain their eyes to see clearly

a headache or discomfort occurs after prolonged reading or writing

eyestrain develops, which burns or aches in or around the eyes

the person cannot perceive depth effectively

Left untreated, other eye conditions can develop, such as a lazy eye, or amblyopia, and crossed eyes, or strabismus.

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An optometrist can carry out a standard eye exam to diagnose farsightedness.

Optometrists can assess vision, prescribe corrective lenses and diagnose common eye issues. Alternatively, an ophthalmologist, or eye specialist, may carry out the exam if a more complex issue is suspected.

[Farsightedness refracts light behind retina]
In farsightedness, or hyperopia, light is refracted to a point behind the retina due to excessive curvature of the cornea.

A person should have an eye exam if they are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or if they reach 40 years of age without symptoms of farsightedness.

Younger children should also have vision testing at the following stages:

at birth

during their first year of life

around 3 and a half years old

around 5 years old

A person who already wears corrective lenses will need more frequent exams to ensure the prescription of their lenses remains appropriate.

Most eye conditions can be corrected successfully, but there is a risk of further complications if left untreated.

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