Farsightedness, otherwise known as hyperopia or hypermetropia, is a refractive error of the eye. It occurs when objects far away are clearer than when objects are near. This is the opposite of nearsightedness, or myopia, where further objects are blurred. If you find that you might be having problems with your vision, never hesitate to do an eye health screening.
How Does the Eye Work?
Our eye is a complex organ, and there are many processes involved in vision. In simpler terms, the eye consists of three main parts which help vision form. The cornea is the first transparent layer exposed to the outside. Behind the cornea lies the lens, which helps us focus on the objects. Finally, the retina is at the back of the eye and it is where light rays gather and an image is sent to the brain, forming an image. Physics have taught us that light rays are what help humans form vision – light reflect on objects and enter our eye. Refraction is the process where light rays bend as they pass from one transparent object into another transparent object of different densities. Vision is formed when light reflects from an object and is refracted by the cornea, the lens, and finally reaches the retina. Therefore, a refractive error occurs when the eyeball is relatively too short or too long, causing the refracted light rays from the cornea and the lens to fall either behind or in front of the retina. Farsightedness is when the eyeball is too short, thus the focus of the image falls behind the retina and further objects appear clearer.
Many infants and children have mild hyperopia, but they do not require correction as their eyeball lengthens, or their eyes accommodate as they grow older. Many also tend to confuse farsightedness with presbyopia, which is also known as aging sight. Unlike hyperopia, presbyopia normally occurs in the older age group, typically in people above the age of 40. Instead of the eyeball being relatively short as in hyperopia, presbyopia is a normal aging process when the lens loses its ability to focus on objects accordingly.
What are The Sign And Symptoms Of Farsightedness?
Hyperopia has a strong genetic link, and it often runs in families. It is difficult for kids to know if they have any refractive errors until they start school. Refractive errors are often the case when they have issues with copying from the board (nearsightedness), or if they have problems reading a book in front of them (farsightedness). Some people do not have an issue with hyperopia until they become older.
Farsightedness may also be observed when you have to squint while looking to get a clearer picture. Sometimes, you might even get a headache from performing close-ranged tasks, such as reading, writing, or looking at devices for a prolonged period of time.
A simple test can be done by comparing your vision while reading a book versus looking at an advertisement situated far away, If you happen to see the advertisement which is at a distance clearer than the book in front of you, chances are that you have a certain degree of farsightedness.
Can Farsightedness be Fixed?
Farsightedness is not exactly a curable condition, but there are many options to correct your vision that are easy and obtainable. The first step is to always get a comprehensive eye check done by an optometrist. They will use a device called a retinoscope, which will measure the refraction of your eye and directly tell if you have hyperopia or myopia. They will also check your vision with a phoropter, which makes you look like you are wearing a cool headpiece. The optometrist will then fix different lenses, asking you if you can see better with or without the lens. If you have a positive value for your lens prescription, then you most likely have hyperopia. (E.g. +1.50)
With recent technology, a pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses can easily be done. These are a matter of choice and preference based on your own comfort and needs. Some people might also opt for laser surgery, where an opthalmologist will use laser rays to correct the refractive error of your eye.
The most obvious symptom of farsightedness is when objects further appear clearer than the object nearby. This is not to be confused with presbyopia, and farsightedness is often normal in younger kids. If you are unsure, it is always advisable to seek an eye assessment from an optometrist.
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