Long sightedness, also known as hypermetropia or hyperopia is a common vision disorder. It results from the overall power of the eye not being strong enough, or the length of the eye being too short.

What happens in hyperopia?

When the power of the eye is not strong enough, or the length of the eye is too short, the rays of light that enter the eye fall behind the retina rather than falling on the retina in focus. Hyperopia can result in blurred vision, primarily at near distance, but depending on its severity, it can also affect distance vision.

This is a common condition that can occur at any age. However, because hyperopia is caused by the eye being too short or the optical components of the eye not being strong enough, it is quite common for children to have small degrees of long-sightedness that they may grow out of over time as their eyes grow longer.

Diagram of the eye showing hyperopia

What are the symptoms of long sightedness?

People with hyperopia may suffer from:

  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Blurred vision
  • in some instances, squints (eye turning)
These signs and symptoms are worse when conducting near vision tasks like reading and may be intermittent. Hyperopia symptoms can manifest themselves during periods when the patient is doing lots of close work, for example, during exam periods for school children. In the short term, the visual system can compensate for small amounts of long-sightedness but this can become problematic if effort is exerted over prolonged periods of time.

Diagnosis and prescriptions for hyperopia

Hyperopia can be diagnosed by an optometrist during a routine eye examination, and common forms of vision correction can be prescribed to alleviate symptoms.

Positive lenses are prescribed to increase the overall power of the eye, reduce the amount of effort the visual system is exerting to overcome any hyperopia present, and alleviate any manifest symptoms that the patient is suffering from as a result.

Eye prescriptions usually involve several numbers. The figure that is relevant to hyperopia is Sphere (sometimes abbreviated to Sph). This describes how strong your lenses should be, and is measured in dioptres (D for short). A positive number, for example, 1.5D, indicates hyperopia. (Negative numbers indicate short-sightedness or myopia).

The more severe the long sightedness, the further away your Sphere prescription will be from zero. So 0.5 D would denote a mild case of hyperopia, whereas 6D would be severe.

What are the treatment options for hyperopia?

Hyperopia can be treated with corrective contact lenses or spectacles.

If your hyperopia treatment of choice is a surgical correction, it is important to talk through your choice with your eye surgeon. There are many factors to consider, including your age, how severe your hyperopia is, the thickness of your corneas and whether you have any other eye conditions. Clear lens extraction is a surgical option that can be very effective for suitable candidates. It is the same as cataract surgery but involves the removal of a clear crystalline lens (with no cataract).

Read more about refractive lens exchange surgery at Forest Eye Surgery    

All surgical procedures carry some risk. The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. Please contact Forest Eye Surgery to find out if refractive lens exchange surgery is appropriate for your individual situation.

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