About 5 to 10 percent of people in the United Stated are farsighted, according to the National Eye Institute. Also called hyperopia, farsightedness causes blurry vision when a person is looking at images nearby. In a normal eye, light is refracted by the cornea and lens, which sends that incoming information to the retina, which is located at the back of the eye.
But with a refractive error visual condition, such as farsightedness and nearsightedness, the light is not refracted properly. With farsightedness, this occurs if the cornea has less curvature than normal or if the person has a shorter eye than normal.
Both children and adults can be farsighted. MedlinePlus noted that this condition is often present at birth, though many children outgrow it. A person is more likely to have this refractive error if one of her parents was farsighted, according to the National Eye Institute.
People may need to squint to see objects up close clearly. They may experience aching around their eyes or burning eyes. After doing close-up work, they may have headaches.
Farsightedness may cause some complications, such as the development of crossed eyes. This complication can be corrected with specific eyeglasses.
The MayoClinic.com stated that when farsightedness is left uncorrected, people can have a reduced quality of life and may also have impaired safety if they are driving or operating heavy equipment.
To diagnose farsightedness, an ophthalmologist will use several tests, including an eye movement test, retinal exam, slit-lamp examination and glaucoma test. A visual acuity test will check the person’s vision with objects close up and objects far away.
A person with hyperopia will have no problem with the Snellen eye chart, which checks her distance vision, but will have issues with the Jaeger chart, which checks her close-up vision. The ophthalmologist will also perform a refraction test to determine the best prescription for the person.
If the ophthalmologist determines that a person is farsighted, the person may use eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct their vision. Refractive surgery is another option, which alters the shape of the cornea to correct the blurry vision.
The MayoClinic.com noted that four refractive surgery options are available for farsightness, include laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK), photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and conductive keratoplasty (CK).
While these surgeries can either reduce or eliminate a person’s need to wear corrective lenses, there are several side effects, including under or overcorrection of the vision problem, infection and visual side effects. In rare cases, vision loss can occur. Patients should talk to their doctor about the best treatment for them.
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Farsightedness. Web. 28 November 2011
National Eye Institute. Farsightedness. Web. 28 November 2011
MayoClinic.com. Farsightedness. Web. 28 November 2011
Reviewed November 28, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith