Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

What is hyperopia?

With hyperopia, more commonly known as farsightedness, objects that are far away from you look clearer to you than those that are closer. If you have significant hyperopia, all objects may appear blurry to you, whether they are near or far.

How does hyperopia develop?

Hyperopia is a problem of refraction: the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. In the eye, light passes through the cornea and the lens and then focuses on the retina—the part of the back of the eye which receives light and processes it, sending messages to the optic nerve in the brain. Your brain translates these messages into the images you see with your eyes. If you have hyperopia, the eyeball is too short and it focuses images behind the retina, instead of on it—resulting in blurry vision.

An abnormally shaped cornea or lens can also cause hyperopia. Hyperopia can run in families.

How do I know if I have hyperopia?

Some people have mild hyperopia and don’t know it. In other cases, being farsighted can cause symptoms such as:

  • Blurred vision, especially when you are looking at close objects
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Eyestrain

If you have any of these symptoms, contact an eye care professional for an eye examination. A comprehensive dilated eye examination is the best way to accurately assess your vision and determine if you need vision correction.

Is hyperopia correctable?

If you learn you are farsighted, your eye care professional will speak with you about options for improving your vision and what may work best for you. Your choices may include:

  • Eyeglasses, the safest and simplest way to correct vision challenges caused by hyperopia, which can help you see the world more clearly.
  • Contact lenses are helpful for people with hyperopia. As the first surface light hits when it enters your eye, a contact lens can achieve better refraction and focus. Many people find that contact lenses not only give them clearer vision, but a wider field of vision as well—in addition to comfort because they don’t need to wear glasses. However, some people are not comfortable with contact lenses. Talk with your eye care professional to see if they might be right for you.
  • Surgery helps some people with hyperopia by changing the shape of the cornea permanently. Such “refractive surgery” changes the shape of the eye so that light passing through is more finely focused, enhancing the clarity of your vision. Speak with your eye care professional about the different types of surgery to learn if it might be an option for you. Many people enjoy the freedom from glasses and contact lenses that refractive surgery may offer.

Source: The National Eye Institute (NEI)