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What is Hyperopia (Farsightedness)?
Hyperopia is a vision condition that primarily affects your ability to focus up close. Other names for hyperopia are hypermetropia or farsightedness.
This condition is a type of refractive error, which occurs when your eye does not focus light properly, resulting in blurry vision. Other forms of refractive errors include myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia (age-related farsightedness).
In most cases, refractive error depends on the overall shape of your eye. For example, hyperopia occurs when the eye's length is too short, and myopia occurs when the length is too long.
Symptoms of Farsightedness
General symptoms of hyperopia include:
- Blurry vision
- Eye strain or fatigue
- Tired eyes
- Difficulty reading or doing computer work
With mild hyperopia, near vision may be blurry while distance vision is clear. Some people who have mild hyperopia, particularly children, do not have any symptoms. This is because children have a more flexible natural lens, making it easier for their eyes to accommodate (adjust their eye focus). With higher amounts of hyperopia, your vision may be blurry at all distances.
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Hyperopia should not be confused with presbyopia, which causes near vision problems in older age. Presbyopia occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes stiff and cannot adjust its shape.
If left uncorrected, symptoms of hyperopia tend to worsen over time. Fortunately, eyeglasses and contacts offer a relatively simple solution to correcting hyperopia. It’s important to note that wearing glasses or contacts does not improve your vision permanently. Instead, corrective lenses help you see clearly while you are wearing them.
Do I Need to Wear Glasses for Farsightedness?
The answer depends on the strength of your farsighted correction. The best way to find out is to have your optometrist perform an eye exam. They’ll provide you with a prescription for glasses, if necessary.
When you look at your prescription, you’ll see a number listed under the “sphere” section. If this number has a plus (+) sign in front, you need farsighted correction. If the number has a negative (-) sign in front, you require nearsighted correction.
The higher the number, the stronger prescription you have:
- Low hyperopia is +2.00 D or lower
- Moderate hyperopia varies between +2.25 to +5.00 D
- Severe hyperopia is a prescription above +5.25 D
If your hyperopia is very mild, you may not need glasses. Or, your optometrist might recommend wearing them for specific tasks such as reading or computer work. If your prescription is moderate or high, your optometrist may advise you to wear glasses full-time.
Best Glasses for Farsightedness
Eyeglasses lenses for farsightedness are thicker in the center and thinner on the edges.
Some people are concerned about farsighted glasses giving their eyes a “bug-eyed” look, particularly with stronger corrections. Most people also dislike the thickness and weight of a lens that corrects higher prescriptions. Fortunately, there are a variety of lens options that create a sleeker look and improve wearer comfort.
Lens options and additions include:
- CR-39, also known as standard plastic lenses. These lenses are inexpensive and offer clear, crisp vision. Because CR-39 tends to be thicker and heavier, it’s best for mild hyperopic prescriptions around +1.00.
- Polycarbonate lenses are a solid choice for moderate prescriptions around +2.00 to +3.00. Polycarbonate lenses are not only thinner and lighter than standard plastic but about ten times more impact resistant. One drawback is that the clarity of vision tends to be worse than other lenses.
- Trivex lenses are harder to find, but an excellent alternative to polycarbonate. These lenses have many of the same benefits as polycarbonate, but are even lighter and offer a higher quality of vision. They are also suitable for prescriptions from +2.00 to +3.00.
- High-index lenses are the thinnest lens option available and a popular choice for those with high prescriptions (a hyperopic correction of +4.00 or higher). They can be up to 50% thinner than standard plastic lenses. These lenses can help minimize the bug-eyed look. One drawback is that high-index lenses reflect more light than other lenses, so adding an anti-reflective coating is typically recommended.
- Aspheric lens designs are an option to improve the appearance and vision in a high-index lens. The lens becomes thinner, flatter, and provides consistent vision across the lens. Aspheric lenses are particularly suited for reducing the bug-eyed appearance.
- Anti-reflective coating reduces light reflections off the lens surface, allowing more light to enter your eyes. This allows for clearer vision. Anti-reflective coating improves the cosmetic look of your glasses and helps reduce glare when driving at night or looking at a digital device.
- Ultraviolet (UV) coating can be added to lenses to provide some UV protection from the sun. This option is not always necessary since most lenses have built-in UV protection, except CR-39.
Best Contact Lenses for Farsightedness
Contact lens wearers have many options for correcting farsightedness. Most wearers use soft lenses, which are typically made from soft, flexible plastics called hydrogel or silicone hydrogel. Soft contacts are available in monthly, biweekly, and daily disposable schedules. Your optometrist can advise you on which contacts are best for you how often you need to change them.
Some common brands of soft contact lenses available in hyperopic prescriptions include:
- Acuvue Oasys
- Acuvue Oasys 1 Day
- 1-Day Acuvue Moist
- Clariti 1 Day
- Proclear 1 Day
- Air Optix plus Hydraglyde
- Dailies AquaComfort Plus
- Dailies Total 1
- Biotrue ONEday
Most soft contact lenses are available in a wide range of prescriptions, with many brands carrying up to +6.00 or +8.00. If your prescription is higher than the typical range, or if you also have astigmatism, your doctor may need to prescribe a brand that carries extended ranges (sometimes labeled as “XR” lenses) or custom-made lenses.
Rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses are hard, plastic lenses. RGP lenses have high durability and only need to be replaced yearly, or sometimes can last even longer.
The rigid material also provides a consistent, smooth surface that provides clear vision throughout the day. This feature is ideal for some people who do not see well with soft contacts, particularly those with severe hyperopia or hyperopia and high astigmatism.