Did you know that up to 10% of Americans are affected by farsightedness? Truthfully, those born to parents who are farsighted are more likely to be farsighted themselves. What exactly is farsightedness? For starters, another name for Farsightedness is hyperopia. It is an eye condition that causes light to focus behind the retina instead of on it. Because of this, people who are affected find themselves struggling to see up close but maintain a clear vision at a distance. However, this is a condition that can worsen, and when it does even far objects will begin to blur. Eye strain and headaches are common symptoms associated with farsightedness. Also covered later, symptoms of farsightedness and the different classifications and severities that exist alongside hyperopia.
What causes it? As stated before, you will find yourself more likely to be farsighted if your parents are affected by it. Though this is a fact, it is not the exact cause of this condition. It is an imperfection of your eyes, and it often occurs from a misshapen lens or cornea, or the eyeball is too short. Other risk factors are diabetes, medications, and tumors that grow around the eye. Diagnosed through a basic eye exam, this is a type of refractive error. However, there are also several warning signs that you can identify to help tell you whether or not you may be farsighted. Most importantly, it is ideal to seek professional help with the matter so you can be sure you are getting proper treatment.
This condition shows a primary effect against young children at rates of 8% around 6 years old. Rates drop to 1% at about 15 years, and then around 40 years, it becomes common again affecting about 50%. However, there are ways to manage and treat farsightedness which will be covered later. There are several complications that can be caused by hyperopia.
There are some rare complications that can develop due to farsightedness; Accommodative Dysfunction, Binocular Dysfunction, Strabismus and Amblyopia. At younger ages, this condition can lead to double vision courtesy of over-focusing.
Earlier, the topic of diagnosing farsightedness was lightly touched upon. Although, you may find yourself asking exactly what the diagnosis process is. It is a simple exam that usually uses one of two tools; automated refractor-objective refraction, or a retinoscope. There is also the subjective examination that uses trial frames, lenses, or a phoropter. There are also ancillary tests which look for physiology and abnormal structures. These tests use a slit lamp which thoroughly examines the iris, conjunctiva, cornea and anterior chamber.
The more severe cases of hyperopia, those that start from birth, cause the brain to have trouble merging images that each eye sees. This is a result of the brain receiving blurred images from each eye. A child affected with this from birth may never see in full detail because the brain has never seen in detail. This can directly result in an eye becoming more dominant than the other. This will cause the brain to completely block impulses of the non-dominant eye. Myopia, or nearsightedness, has the opposite effect, causing blurred vision from a far and detailed vision up close.
There are several warning signs, or symptoms of hyperopia. The most common of these symptoms are the blurring of nearby objects while you see detail at a distance. Also, you may need to squint when trying to see clearly. You may experience eyestrain, burning eyes, and/or aching around or in the eye. Also, you could find yourself experiencing a general discomfort of your eyes, or a headache after a prolonged period of time performing close up tasks such as writing, computer work, drawing, or reading.
There are different classifications and levels of severity for hyperopia that you should be informed of. For starters, the three clinical categories of farsightedness are simple, pathological, and functional. Simple hyperopia is an occurrence of natural biological diversity. Pathological Hyperopia is caused by a disease, abnormal development, or trauma. And Functional Hyperopia is the inability to accommodate caused by paralysis.
The three levels of severity are Low, Moderate, and High. The severity is gauged by the diopters of the refractive error. Low has an error lower or equal to +2.00 diopters. Moderate, +2.00-+5.00, and High is refractive error that is greater than +5.00 diopters.
While hyperopia is inconvenient, and very complicating for everyday tasks while you adjust, there are simple treatments that you can undergo to help improve your vision and fight off farsightedness. Of these treatments, the most common and simple is the corrective lenses and contacts. Though contacts give you a wider range of vision, glasses are the simplest to treat farsightedness.
You other options for treatment are the surgeries that can help correct your vision appropriately. There are 4 different types of surgery that repair the eye in different ways. These address the different causes of hyperopia.
Photorefractive Keratectomy– this removes a minimal amount of the surface of your cornea.
Situ Keratomileusis, Laser Assisted- This surgery will reshape the cornea, this will eliminate the need of contacts and corrective lenses.
RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange)- this is a variation of basic cataract surgery in which the natural crystalline lens is swapped with an artificial lens.
LASEK (Laser epithelial keratomileusis)- This closely resembles the PRK treatment, however, alcohol is used to loosen the surface of the cornea.
Overall, Hyperopia is also known as farsightedness. It causes clearer vision at a distance while blurring the affected vision up close. Through multiple options of diagnostics and treatments you are able to take a hold over your vision and rid yourself of this troublesome condition. With the severity and classifications ranging, figuring out the right cause of your hyperopia is vital in finding the right treatment option for you. As stated before, one of the greatest risk factors is family history. Though there are several different causes, it is important to know your family’s visual history for bettering your treatment.