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Disease: Farsightedness Farsightedness
Category: Eye diseases

Disease Definition:

Hyperopia, which is also known as farsightedness, is a common vision condition in which objects nearby may be blurry, while the objects in the distance are clear.


Someone's focusing ability will be determined by the degree of their farsightedness. Usually, people who have severe farsightedness only see objects that are at a great distance away. However, those who have mild farsightedness could see objects that are closer.


Generally, farsightedness tends to run in families, and is present at birth. Contact lenses or eyeglasses could easily correct this condition and surgery may be another available treatment option.

Work Group:

Symptoms, Causes


Some of the signs and symptoms of farsightedness may be:


  • The need to squint in order to see clearly
  • Nearby objects could appear blurry
  • Eyestrain, including aching in or around the eyes, burning eyes and in some rare cases, headache
  • General eye discomfort or a headache after a prolonged interval of doing close tasks including drawing, reading or writing.


There are two parts in the eye that focus images:


  • The clear front surface of the eye called the cornea
  • The clear structure inside the eye that changes shape to help focus objects called the lens.


Each of these focusing elements has a perfectly smooth curvature in a perfectly shaped eye, just like the surface of a rubber ball. With such curvature, the cornea and lens bend (refract) all incoming light, in such a way as to make a sharply focused image directly on the retina, which is at the back of the eye.



In case the lens or cornea isn’t smoothly curved, the light rays won’t be refracted properly, causing a refractive error. One type of refractive error is farsightedness, which occurs when the eye is shorter than normal or if the cornea is curved too little. The light is focused behind the retina instead of being focused exactly on the retina, which will cause a blurry appearance for close-up objects. However, a person may be able to exert enough focus so that nearby objects are seen clearly in case they haven’t reached the age when the eye becomes presbyopic, usually around middle age, which is when it gradually loses the ability to focus actively on nearby objects.


Other than farsightedness, some of the refractive errors are:



When astigmatism is not corrected, it will cause blurry vision. Usually, the blurred vision develops more in one direction than in another, horizontally, vertically or diagonally. This condition occurs when the cornea or lens is curved more steeply in one direction than in another.



Also known as nearsightedness, this condition develops when the cornea is curved too much or the eye is longer than normal. The effect of this condition is the opposite of farsightedness; faraway objects will be blurry because light is focused in front of the retina. In this condition, nearby objects will be seen clearly.



Some of the problems that farsightedness could be associated with include:



A person may squint or strain their eyes in order to maintain focus, due to uncorrected farsightedness, which could lead to headaches and eyestrain.


Crossed eyes:

Crossed eyes may develop in some children with farsightedness. This problem could be treated with specially designed eyeglasses that correct a part of or the entire farsightedness.


Impaired safety:

In case someone has an uncorrected vision problem, they shouldn't drive or operate heavy equipment for their own safety and that of others.


Reduced quality of life:

A person's quality of life may be affected due to farsightedness. Their limited vision may detract from their enjoyment of day-to-day activities, and they may not be able to perform a task as well as they wish. In children, learning problems could be caused by farsightedness.


Helping focus light on the retina through the use of corrective lenses or refractive surgery is the goal of treating farsightedness.



The lenses of the eyes of most young people are flexible enough to compensate for the condition because of their ability to focus on nearby objects. This is why most young people with farsightedness do not need corrective lenses. However, the lenses become less flexible by middle age, and in order to improve their near vision, most people with farsightedness need corrective lenses.


Corrective lenses treat farsightedness by counteracting the decreased curvature of the cornea or the smaller size or length of the eye. Some of the types of corrective lenses are:



There are large varieties of eyeglasses such as reading glasses, bifocals and trifocals.


Contact lenses:

These could be used as an alternative to eyeglasses. Contact lenses also have a large variety, such as disposable, hard, soft, extended wear, bifocal and rigid gas-permeable (RGP). In order to decide which one is best, the doctor should give his opinion and talk about the pros and cons of contact lenses.


A commonly used type of contact lenses by farsighted people who have started experiencing presbyopia is monovision. Usually, with monovision contacts, the person might not need correction for the eye they use for distance vision, which is the dominant eye, and the contact lens could be used for close-up vision in the other eye. Because 3-D vision is sacrificed to have the advantage of seeing clearly both nearby and in the distance, some people may have trouble adapting to this kind of vision. As desired, monovision contacts could be worn intermittently.


Yet another option is modified monovision contact lenses. When someone uses this type of contact lenses, they could wear a bifocal contact lens in the non-dominant eye and a contact lens for distance in the dominant eye; this will enable them to use one eye for seeing objects nearby and both eyes for seeing distant objects.



Refractive surgical procedures could be used to treat farsightedness despite the fact that they are usually used for nearsightedness. Farsightedness is corrected with refractive surgery by reshaping the curvature of the cornea. Some of the methods of refractive surgery are:


Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK):

LASIK is a procedure in which an instrument called a keratome is used to make a thin and circular hinged cut into the cornea. Then, an excimer laser is used in order to remove layers from the center of the cornea to steepen its domed shape. An excimer laser doesn’t produce heat, making it different from other types of lasers. The thin corneal flap is repositioned after the excimer laser is used. In some centers, a specially designed laser is being used instead of a keratome.


Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK):

In this procedure, a flap is created involving only the cornea’s thin protective cover (epithelium) instead of creating a flap in the cornea. Then, an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea’s outer layers and steepen its curvature and then reposition the epithelial flap. After the procedure, usually a bandage contact lens is worn for several days in order to facilitate healing.


Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK):

Although this procedure is similar to LASEK, but here the epithelium is removed, which will grow back naturally and conform to the cornea’s new shape. However, this surgery is more uncomfortable than LASEK. In PRK, a bandage contact lens is also used for a few days following surgery, just like in the LASEK procedure.


Conductive keratoplasty (CK): In this procedure, heat is applied to timey spots around the cornea by radiofrequency. Its effect resembles plastic wrap being stretched by heat. The number and spacing of the spots, in addition to the way in which the cornea heals after treatment will determine the degree of change in the curvature of the cornea.


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