Farsightedness (Hyperopia) 101: What it is and How to Fix it
In the world of optometry there is a seemingly endless amount of phrases, and it can be kind of overwhelming if you’re new on the scene. To help make sense of it all, we’re breaking down one of the most commonly used terms: farsightedness.
Keep reading to learn what farsightedness is, what causes it, and how to treat it!
What is Farsightedness?
To put it simply, farsighted means that you can see things that are far away, but objects that are close-up appear blurry.
To really understand what farsightedness is, it’s helpful to know a little bit about how eyes are supposed to work.
There are two parts of the eye that are responsible for focusing: the cornea (the transparent surface of your eye) and the lens (the clear, lentil-shaped part that sits right behind your iris) which changes shape as you focus on something.
The sole function of your lens is to focus light rays onto the retina. Both the cornea and the lens work together to bend (refract) the incoming light and focus it onto your retina. The retina (which sits at the back of your eyeball) is responsible for receiving that visual information and then sending it to your optic nerve where it is then carried to your brain.
A normal, curved lens/cornea is what allows you to see things up close and far away perfectly. However, if your cornea has a slightly different shape, your eye won’t focus like they should, causing a refractive error. This happens when your cornea is too flat or your eye is “too short”- both of which prevents light from focusing on your retina.
There are two types of farsightedness:
- Hyperopia: the kind you’re born with- where the cornea is too flat or the eyeball is too short.
- Presbyopia: the kind that impacts people as they age, also referred to as “aging eyes.”
This is a common issue. In fact, farsightedness affects almost 10% of Americans, and if you’re over the age of 65 you have about a 50% chance of experiencing this. So what causes someone to experience this refractive error?
What Causes Farsightedness?
It’s hard to know exactly what causes farsightedness, but we do know that it’s possible to be born with this condition, and just have it not affect you until you’re older. Experts also believe that farsightedness might be hereditary, so it can be passed down from parents to children.
In rare cases, farsightedness may be the result of diabetes, a tumor or fovea hypoplasia (macular hypoplasia), which is a rare medical condition having to do with the underdevelopment of the macula.
Typically, refractive errors occur because:
- The eyeball is too short
- The cornea is too flat
- The eye is getting older
Symptoms of Farsightedness
Some patients with farsightedness may not notice any problems with their vision whatsoever.
But if your eye muscles are having to work harder due to this error, you might end up developing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Blurry vision, especially when you’re looking at anything up-close
- Dull pain in your eyes
- Eyestrain or soreness in your eyes
- Headaches, especially when you’re reading
- Squinting to see better
How to Diagnose Farsightedness
Once you realize that you might be farsighted, it’s time to see an ophthalmologist who can determine the degree of farsightedness and what the best treatment options are. Farsightedness can be easily diagnosed with a few simple and pain-free tests which include a refraction assessment and an eye health exam.
For the eye exam, your eyes will be dilated which allows your doctor to get a better (wider) view of your pupils. This might make your eyes slightly sensitive to light, but they’ll return to normal a few hours after your visit.
Your eye doctor will also have you read a chart from across the room, and might test your vision up-close as well. If these tests show farsightedness, they’ll use a device called a retinoscope to check how the light is reflecting off of your retina.
If the results show that you are farsighted, your doctor will make a recommendation for treating the refractive error and will help you determine which option is best for your specific needs and lifestyle.
How to Treat Farsightedness
If you’re wondering whether or not LASIK can treat farsightedness, you’ve come to the right place.
Both LASIK and PRK- two types of laser eye surgeries- are able to help reduce or even eliminate your need for glasses and contacts. These minimally-invasive procedures can help adjust your eye’s ability to focus and effectively treat farsightedness.
At LasikPlus, your refractive surgery options include:
This is the most common form of laser eye surgery, and is the best option for a majority of patients who are struggling with farsightedness.
With this simple procedure, your eye surgeon will make a thin, painless flap in your cornea. Then they’ll use a laser to adjust the curves of your cornea, correcting the farsightedness. The recovery time from LASIK surgery is usually more speedy, and also causes less discomfort than other corneal surgeries.
This procedure is also used to correct farsightedness, as well as nearsightedness and astigmatisms. It is one alternative to LASIK, and most often recommended if a patient’s cornea is too thin to make LASIK a viable option for them.
Our expert surgeons only perform bladeless LASIK and PRK surgery, which means that instead of using a microkeratome, a specialized bladeless laser is used to create the LASIK flap. Due to the use of anaesthetic numbing drops used for both procedures, you won’t feel anything besides a slight pressure during the procedure itself.
A certified LASIK specialist will help you determine which option is best for your farsightedness,
From the very beginning, LasikPlus has been proud to partner with some of the nation’s most experienced surgeons, and has invested in the most advanced technology to provide you with the best experience possible. You can take comfort in knowing that you are in the best hands when it comes to your vision.
If you would like to learn more about PRK or LASIK for farsightedness, call 1.866.755.2026 or book your free consultation with us today!