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  • Farsightedness

    (Hyperopia)

    Definition

    People with farsightedness, or hyperopia, usually have difficulty seeing objects both at distance and at near, but especially at near.

    Causes

    Farsightedness is a type of refractive error, which means the shape of the eye does not bend light correctly, so images are blurred. In farsightedness, the eyeball is too short for light rays to clearly focus on the retina.
    Interior of the Eye
    eye anatomy 2
    Light rays are precisely focused on the retina (orange) in good vision.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Risk Factors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The main factor believed to increase your risk of farsightedness is having family members who are farsighted.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms associated with farsightedness include:
    • Blurred vision
    • Difficulty focusing on objects that are close
    • Crossing of the eyes (in children)

    Diagnosis

    You will likely be referred to an eye specialist. He or she will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform an eye exam, which includes the following tests:
    • Acuity—to determine the smallest letters you can read on a standardized chart
    • Refractive errors—to see if your eye is not properly focusing on images
    • Eyelids
    • Eye muscles
    • Pupil response to light
    • Peripheral vision
    • Pressure inside the eye
    • Lens, cornea, iris, and retina

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

    Corrective Lenses

    Farsightedness can be treated using corrective lenses (eg, eyeglasses or contact lenses). Your doctor will see you at regular intervals to assess your vision and determine if your corrective lenses prescription needs to change.

    Refractive Surgery

    If you elect to undergo the procedure, certain forms of farsightedness may be treated with refractive surgery. The surgeries used to treat farsightedness focus on making the cornea steeper to increase the eye's ability to focus. The types of refractive surgeries used to treat farsightedness include laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK), epithelial LASIK (Epi-LASIK), photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK), and conductive keratoplasty (CK).

    Prevention

    There is no known way to prevent farsightedness.

    RESOURCES

    American Academy of Ophthalmology http://www.aao.org/

    National Eye Institute http://www.nei.nih.gov/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Ophthalmological Society http://www.eyesite.ca/

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

    References

    Eye exams. The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.eyecareamerica.org/eyecare/treatment/eye-exams.cfm . Accessed July 5, 2007.

    Hyperopia (farsightedness). University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center website. Available at: http://www.kellogg.umich.edu/patientcare/conditions/hyperopia.html . Accessed July 5, 2007.

    Questions and answers about refractive errors, National Eye Institute website. Available at: http://www.nei.nih.gov/CanWeSee/qa%5Frefractive.asp . Accessed July 5, 2007.

    Refractive surgery. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: http://www.medem.com/medlb/article%5Fdetaillb.cfm?article%5FID=ZZZ04IBZLDE&sub%5Fcat=0 . Accessed July 5, 2007.

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