May also be called: Farsightedness; Hypermetropia; Longsightedness
Hyperopia (hy-per-OH-pee-uh) is farsightedness, a common condition in which someone
can see things in the distance clearly, but things that are closer appear blurry.
More to Know
Hyperopia is a type of refractive error. This means the problem is caused by the
way the eye bends, or refracts, light
as it passes through the eye's cornea and lens. Normally, the cornea (the clear front
of the eye) and lens (a small structure in the eye that can change shape) work together
to take in images and focus them on the retina, the soft, light-sensitive layer of
tissue that lines the back of the eyeball wall. When someone has hyperopia, the lens
focuses the image behind the retina instead of directly on it.
Hyperopia can happen if the eyeball is too short or if the cornea has too little
curve to it. Doctors believe these conditions may be related to a person's genes.
Hyperopia can cause squinting, eyestrain, headaches, and crossed eyes, and it can
make driving or operating machinery more dangerous. Mild hyperopia is normal for infants
and children, but it also can affect adults. In fact, most adults develop a form of
farsightedness called presbyopia as they get older.
Hyperopia usually can't be detected during common vision screenings. Most cases
are diagnosed through a more comprehensive eye exam. Mild hyperopia might not
need treatment because the eye can generally adapt and focus itself anyway. Glasses
or contact lenses can correct hyperopia in kids and teens, if needed.
Keep in Mind
Hyperopia doesn't cause any pain, but it can have a negative effect on a child's
quality of life if not corrected. If your child has trouble seeing things or seems
to do a lot of squinting, talk to a doctor and schedule an eye exam. Most cases of
hyperopia can be easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
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