What is Hyperopia?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Hyperopia is also known as far-sightedness. When people are far-sighted they have no difficulty seeing objects that are at a distance. However, when they turn their eyes to things that are close up, they may have problems seeing them clearly which can result in squinting and also headaches if people must do close work on a regular basis. Hyperopia is similar to presbyopia, which also makes close work difficult, but its cause is very different.

Prescription eyeglasses can be used to treat hyperopia.
Prescription eyeglasses can be used to treat hyperopia.

Essentially, hyperopia is related to length of the eyeball. In some people, the eyeball may be shorter than average, and this can change the way the eye perceives light, and how it “sees” close up objects. Some people have this problem as children and are born with a shorter than normal eye, and a few of them may very well outgrow the problem as they age. Others will continue to have issues with hyperopia and may require a number of corrections to see more clearly and minimize vision issues.

A person with hyperopia has difficulty seeing things close up.
A person with hyperopia has difficulty seeing things close up.

Common treatments for this condition include using corrective glasses or contact lenses. These essentially provide a method for bending light that the eyes cannot provide on their own. Many people are extremely happy with such treatment and it is usually most affordable.

Contact lenses can be made to correct vision problems such as hyperopia, or longsightedness.
Contact lenses can be made to correct vision problems such as hyperopia, or longsightedness.

There are now a number of eye conditions that may be corrected surgically. For those who have trouble with eyeglasses or contact lenses, some surgical techniques may pose the ideal solution for hyperopia. Several different surgeries may be performed per a doctor’s recommendation and patient preference.

One of the most common surgical techniques use to correct hyperopia is LASIK® surgery, which has shown great success in manipulating the eyes so that they will properly bend light and make close work easier. There are two other newer techniques that a doctor might suggest instead. These are implants of phakic intraocular lenses, and conductive keratoplasty.

Phakic intraocular lenses might best be described as permanent lenses that are implanted in the eyes and help provide vision correction. This method of correcting hyperopia might be recommended if people also have other vision difficulties that require simultaneous corrections. Conductive keratoplasty is usually only preferred on people who are over the age of 40 because it permanently changes the corneal shape in order to manipulate it to bend light properly.

Surgical techniques can have the advantage of avoiding the issue of glasses. However they may not be preferred for younger people who are still growing, as some could grow out of hyperopia. If this condition is present, it’s best to discuss options with a qualified doctor to see which method of correction is most appropriate.

A farsighted person sees objects at a distance more easily than objects that are close up.
A farsighted person sees objects at a distance more easily than objects that are close up.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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