What is hyperopia (farsightedness)?

Hyperopia (also called farsightedness) is when you see things that are far away better than things that are up close. Your eyes focus better on distant objects than on nearby ones.

Children who have mild to moderate farsightedness can often see both close and far away without glasses because the muscles and lenses in their eyes are more flexible and can focus very well and overcome the farsightedness. However, this may cause them headaches or reading fatigue issues.

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What causes hyperopia (farsightedness)?

Your eyes focus light rays and send the image of what you’re looking at to your brain. When you’re farsighted, the light rays don’t focus the way they should.

The cornea, the clear outer layer of your eye, and the lens focus images directly on the surface of your retina, which lines the back of your eye. If your eye is too short, or the power to focus is too weak, the image will go to the wrong place, behind your retina. That’s what makes things look blurry.


What are the symptoms of hyperopia (farsightedness)?

You may have:

Trouble focusing on nearby objects.

  • Headaches.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Eye strain.
  • Fatigue or headache after you do a close-up task such as reading.

If you have these symptoms when you wear glasses or contacts, you may need a new prescription.


How is hyperopia (farsightedness) diagnosed?

All it takes to diagnose farsightedness is an eye exam. As part of an eye exam, you may be asked to identify letters on a distance chart. This test measures visual acuity, which is written in a fraction—you may have heard of someone having “20/20 vision.” The top number is the standard distance at which testing is performed—always 20 feet. The bottom number varies, and it indicates the smallest letter size a person can read. A person with 20/40 visual acuity would have to get within 20 feet to identify a letter that could be seen clearly from 40 feet away in a “normal” eye. While 20/20 is the normal distance visual acuity, many people have 20/15 vision, which is even better.

Using an instrument called a phoropter, an optometrist places a series of lenses in front of your eyes and measures how they focus light using a hand-held, lighted instrument called a retinoscope. The doctor may choose to use an automated instrument that automatically evaluates the focusing power of the eye. The power is then refined by the patient’s responses to determine the lenses that allow the clearest vision.


A group of children huddle together in grass.

Treatment & Prevention

How is hyperopia (farsightedness) treated?

Persons with farsightedness have several options available to regain clear distance vision. They include:

  • Glasses.
  • Contact Lenses.
  • Vision correction surgery such as LASIK.

With farsightedness, your prescription is a positive number, such as +3.00. The higher the number, the stronger the lenses.

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Make an appointment with your doctor; annual eye exams are a great way to ensure your eyes are in tip-top shape.

Think you may have hyperopia?