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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.
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General symptoms of hyperopia include:
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.
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.
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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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
Carpenter, Nathan, and A Paula Grigorian. “Hyperopia.” EyeWiki, 6 Jan. 2015, eyewiki.aao.org/Hyperopia.
“Eyeglass Lens Materials.” Master Eye Associates, mastereyeassociates.com/eyeglass-lens-materials.
“The Foundation of All Lenses.” 20/20, 5 Jan. 2012, www.2020mag.com/article/the-foundation-of-all-lenses.