Optometry (Eye Services)
Farsightedness, or 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 influences 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.
Symptoms of farsightedness
Farsightedness may mean:
- Nearby objects may appear blurry
- You need to squint to see clearly
- You have eyestrain, including burning eyes, and aching in or around the eyes
- You experience general eye discomfort or a headache after a prolonged interval of conducting close tasks, such as reading, writing, computer work or drawing
Causes of farsightedness
Your eye has two parts that focus images:
- The cornea, the clear front surface of your eye
- The lens, a clear structure inside your eye that changes shape to help focus on objects
In a perfectly shaped eye, each of these focusing elements has a perfectly smooth curvature, like the surface of a marble. A cornea and lens with such curvature bend (refract) all incoming light to make a sharply focused image directly on the retina, at the back of your eye.
If your cornea or lens isn't evenly and smoothly curved, light rays aren't bent (refracted) properly, and you have a refractive error. Farsightedness is one type of 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
In addition to farsightedness, other refractive errors include:
- Nearsightedness (myopia)
This occurs when your cornea is curved too much or your eye is longer than normal, which makes faraway objects blurry and close objects clear.
This occurs when your cornea or lens is curved more steeply in one direction than in another. Uncorrected astigmatism blurs your vision.
Complications of farsightedness
Farsightedness can be associated with several problems, such as:
- Crossed eyes
Some children with farsightedness may develop crossed eyes. Specially designed eyeglasses that correct for part or all of the farsightedness may effectively treat this problem.
- Reduced quality of life
Uncorrected farsightedness can affect your quality of life. You might not be able to perform a task as well as you wish. And your limited vision may detract from your enjoyment of day-to-day activities. In children, untreated farsightedness may cause learning problems.
Uncorrected farsightedness may cause you to squint or strain your eyes to maintain focus. This can lead to eyestrain and headaches.
- Impaired safety
For your own safety and that of others, don't drive or operate mechanical equipment if you have an uncorrected vision problem.
Prevention of farsightedness
You can't prevent farsightedness, but you can help protect your eyes and your vision. Follow these steps:
- Have your eyes checked.
Regardless of how well you see, have your eyes checked regularly.
- Control chronic health conditions.
Certain conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can affect your vision if you don't receive proper treatment.
- Recognize symptoms.
Sudden loss of vision in one eye, sudden hazy or blurred vision, flashes of light, black spots, or halos or rainbows around lights may signal a serious medical problem. Seek immediate medical care if you experience any of these signs or symptoms.
- Protect your eyes from the sun.
Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This is especially important if you spend long hours in the sun or are taking a prescription medication that increases your sensitivity to UV radiation.
- Eat healthy foods.
Maintain a healthy diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables. A diet containing these foods is necessary to maintain a healthy retina, and likely slows the progression of macular degeneration. Eat dark leafy foods and bright-colored fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, kale, carrots, yams and cantaloupe.
- Don't smoke.
Smoking can adversely affect your eye health. Smoking is one of the most important preventable risk factors for developing macular degeneration. Use the right glasses. The right glasses optimize your vision. Having regular exams will ensure that your eyeglass prescription is correct.
- Use good lighting.
Turning up the lights can improve contrast and help you see better.