What is Hyperopia or Long Sightedness?
Long sightedness, also referred to as hypermetropia and farsightedness, is when someone describes their vision as long sighted, it means that they are able to clearly see objects that are at a distance, but close up things appear blurry to them. They may suffer more from eye strain, eye fatigue, squinting or headaches when performing close-up tasks such as reading or using a computer screen because they have to work harder to focus.
It is a common condition and can affect people differently; some only have problems focussing on nearby objects whereas others can have difficulty seeing objects clearly at any distance. It is believed to be an inherited, genetic condition, you are far more likely to have hyperopia yourself if one or both parents had it. Symptoms often don’t become apparent until adulthood, this is because children’s eyes often adapt to cope or correct themselves as they develop.
There is a further type of long sightedness that is caused by the natural ageing process. The medical term for this type is presbyopia and almost everyone will experience this from the age of forty onwards.
Unlike myopia (short sightedness), hyperopia incidence is not linked to childhood lifestyle and environmental factors. This is because it is a genetic condition, a person either has it from early childhood or they don’t. However if left untreated it can cause other issues in children such as lazy eye (where one eye’s vision is poorer than the other) and squinting.
In a normal eye, light travels through the cornea (the transparent layer at the front of the eye), into the lens, which focuses it directly onto the retina (the light sensitive area at the back of the eye). The retina then sends this information to the brain via the optic nerve and it is processed by the brain as an image.
In hyperopia, an imperfection in the eye causes a refractive error, where the light entering the eye is focussed beyond the retina, rather than onto it, so close up objects are processed by the brain as blurry images. The condition can be caused by the eyeball being too short, the cornea not being curved enough or the lens is too thin.
Age-related long sightedness, or presbyopia, is thought to be caused by the lens becoming less flexible.
There are several treatments available to correct hyperopia; spectacles, contact lenses and laser surgery. The safest and simplest treatment is spectacles, or glasses, with a convex lens to adjust the light refraction back into the retina. This is generally the only treatment that will be suitable for children.
Contact lenses are also popular as they are lightweight and not visible, although they require more care, especially with hygiene. Laser surgery can provide significant improvement or for some people even completely rectify the problem, but it does carry a small risk of complications and won’t work well for everyone. Consult your optometrist for advice on what is the best treatment for you.
For expert advice on any aspect of eye care from the team at Sergeant and Barber in Lowestoft, call us on 01502 568241 or pop in at 99 Bridge Street, Oulton Broad and we’ll be happy to help.