Woman with glasses looking at an object up close

Hyperopia

Living with farsightedness

With hyperopia, objects up close appear blurry and objects in the distance are sharply focused. Hyperopia occurs when incoming light from a near object is not accurately focused. This can be due to the cornea being too flat for the length of the eye.

What vision is like with hyperopia

Distant objects are sharply focused; close objects are out of focus.

What is Hyperopia?

If you suffer from hyperopia, objects in the distance are usually sharp; however, in severe cases, even distant objects can be blurred. This condition, known as farsightedness, is a result of the eye not having enough optical power.

The cornea and the natural lens normally refract incoming light rays to intersect at a single focal point that lies exactly on the retina; the layer of light-sensitive cells lining the back of the eye. A hyperopic eye refracts light to a focal point that lies behind the retina. This causes vision problems, especially when trying to focus on objects at a close proximity. Blurriness occurs because the light is not focused on the retina, where the optic nerve transmits the image to the brain.

The prescription and refractive power of hyperopia is given in positive diopter. The higher the number, the more severe your refractive error is. 

 

Where the focal point lies in hyperopia

Light rays are refracted by the cornea and the lens in such a way that the focal point is behind the retina.

Causes of Hyperopia

Hyperopia usually develops at birth or at a young age, but only causes visual problems in a small percentage of people until the age of 40. Then the number starts to increase. At a young age the flexibility of the natural lens can compensate for hyperopia by changing its shape and focusing the light rays exactly on the retina. This ability is known as accommodation.

Around the age of 40, the natural lens can become less flexible, which leads to the loss of its ability to compensate for the existing refractive error. Also, lower levels of hyperopia become more noticeable and reading glasses may be needed as it becomes harder to focus on close objects.

The condition is often inherited, but may occur as a result of various local or systemic diseases in rare cases. 

 

 

Symptoms of Hyperopia

If your degree of hyperopia is low, you might not notice your reduced vision. However, living without corrected hyperopia could negatively affect your quality of life.

Common symptoms of hyperopia include

  • headaches from eye strain after reading, writing or working on a computer for a long period of time
  • difficulty concentrating and focusing on objects up close
  • fatigue or burning eyes
  • irritability or anxiousness while trying to concentrate

It is important to regularly have your eyes examined by an expert. Hyperopia can be diagnosed in a basic eye exam by an ophthalmologist or an optometrist.

Hyperopia is a vision condition, not a harmful disease; the eye is still healthy, but requires visual aids.

Options to Correct Hyperopia

If you suffer from hyperopia, there are several ways your vision could be corrected. You should consult with an ophthalmologist or optometrist to determine which options are available to you. The most common ways are:

  • Glasses can be an easy way to improve vision. Prescription glasses can fix refractive errors by altering the angle light rays enter the eye. Depending on your style and budget, there is an enormous selection of frames and eyeglass lenses to choose from.
  • Contact lenses work under the same principles as glasses. Contact lenses differ in materials (hard and soft) and duration of use (daily disposables or extended wear). It is important to understand that contact lenses are not without risks.
  • Laser eye surgery is another option to treat hyperopia. LASIK and PRK/LASEK both treat refractive errors. At this time, SMILE cannot treat hyperopia. Like all surgeries though, they are not without risks.
  • Intraocular lens exchange is another option that a doctor may recommend to correct hyperopia in certain patients. This is a surgical procedure in which an artificial lens is implanted in place of the natural lens. Intraocular lens exchange is a common procedure for patients suffering from cataracts, while refractive or clear lens exchange refers to patients without cataract. Your doctor can recommend this if it is an option for you as well as which IOL is right for you and your refractive error. Like all surgeries though, it is not without risks.
  • Phakic intraocular lens (PIOL) is an artificial lens, which is implanted in addition to the existing natural lens, and is used in refractive surgery to change the eye's optical power. Like all surgeries though, it is not without risks.
Woman with glasses looking at her smartphone

Visual Aids

Living with glasses and contact lenses

Well over half the world’s population relies on glasses or contact lenses to see well. For many of these people, this may be the best option, and today, there are a variety of spectacle lens and contact lens options available for a wide range of vision needs.

However, many wearers have problems wearing glasses or contact lenses and find that their dependency on visual aids interferes with their daily lives.

Many people want to see – to see well without glasses or contact lenses. Laser eye surgery may provide an alternate solution to glasses and contact lenses. Consult with your eye doctor to determine the best option for your vision and daily life.