Farsightedness is a common vision problem in which your distant vision is fine, but you face difficulty focusing on nearby objects. In medical terms, this condition is known as hyperopia. This condition makes it difficult to read, use a mobile or laptop and focus on objects within close distance. The range of farsightedness depends on the severity of your disease. Some people with mild farsightedness may be able to read from a close distance, while others will have blurred vision. Farsightedness can be treated using glasses, lenses, or surgery.
Your eye has two major parts that play a role in the refraction of light. The first one is the cornea, a clear, dome-shaped covering in front of the eye. The second part is the oval-shaped lens. The combined action of these two structures is responsible for suitably bending the light to form a clear image on your retina. If your cornea or lens is not able to bend light correctly, it creates a refractive error. In the case of farsightedness, the image is focused behind the retina. This appears as a blurry image to a person. This is also why farsighted people tend to squint their eyes because it allows a little better refraction of light to form an image.
The risk of farsightedness increases with age. Many children have farsightedness at an early age, but they outgrow the condition in a few years. Majority of the older adults over the age of 60 have some degree of farsightedness. This condition also tends to run in families. If your parents or close family members have this disease, there is a chance that you may have it too from an early age.
Farsightedness is a very common vision issue faced by thousands of people worldwide. According to an estimate, around 5% to 10% of people in the United States suffer from some degree of farsightedness. It can affect people of any age, although it is predominant among older people.
Signs and symptoms of farsightedness may go unnoticed if it is mild. You may face a little difficulty while reading, but it is not enough to consider it a major problem. If you have moderate to severe farsightedness, you may experience other symptoms. These include squinting your eyes to focus on nearby objects, difficulty reading, blurry vision, dull ache in the eye muscles, headache, and eyestrain. You will face difficulty while doing close tasks such as reading, writing, drawing, sketching, or working on your mobile and computer.
Farsightedness is diagnosed on the basis of symptoms and detailed examination. Even if you have some problem with reading or focusing, you should get your vision checked. Your doctor will likely perform a refraction assessment and eye health exam. The refraction assessment determines refraction errors such as hyperopia, myopia, presbyopia, etc. Various instruments and lenses are used to assess your nearby and distant vision.
The eye exam is done to determine the overall structure of your eye. Your doctor may use eye drops that dilate the pupils for better examination. A retinoscope can be used to assess vision issues in children. In this case, a special light is used to see how it gets reflected by your retina. The results can help in differentiating between farsightedness and nearsightedness.
Farsightedness should be differentiated from other diseases such as orbital tumors, elevation of the retina, presbyopia, posterior scleritis, cataracts, hypoglycemia, and post-refractive surgery. It should also be differentiated from other refractive errors based on symptoms and diagnostic tests.
Mild farsightedness does not require any treatment if you are able to read from a close distance without putting strain on your eyes. In moderate cases, the best treatment option is to get correction eyeglasses or contact lenses. These lenses converge the light rays before entering your natural eye lens, so the image is formed right on the retina. You will be able to read, write and focus better on nearby objects with the help of correction lenses. Eyeglasses are considered a better option for children and older adults, while contact lenses are recommended for adults if they do not want to wear glasses.
Surgical options are also available for severe cases of farsightedness. These options include laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK), laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK), photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and intraocular lens implantation. The best surgical option for you will be decided by your doctor based on your age, health, and severity of the disease.
A few complications may develop from an early stage if farsightedness is left untreated. Children with this condition can develop crossed eyes if this condition persists. In adults, it can lead to frequent eyestrain and headaches, reducing your efficiency in both personal and professional life. If you have moderate to severe farsightedness, you may risk your own life and others if you drive a vehicle.
The use of correction lenses can treat this problem completely. Because the risk of farsightedness increases with age, it is better to get your eyes tested every once in a while to see if you need to update your correction lenses. The prognosis of surgical options is also good.
It is difficult to prevent farsightedness, but there are a few ways by which you can improve your eye’s health and vision. Eat foods rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, such as leafy vegetables and fish. Wear sunglasses when you’re outside during the daytime to protect your eyes from UV rays. Get regular eye exams to diagnose any issue at an early stage.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 06, 2023.