Hyperopia, more commonly known as farsightedness is a refractive disorder where light rays do not bent (refract) properly. This results in a visual image being focused behind rather than directly on the retina (the layer in the back of the inner eye). If you are farsighted, you have good distance vision but difficulty seeing objects up close.
Farsightedness effects about 25% of people in the United States. It is often present at birth, but many children outgrow the condition. Farsightedness can be a risk factor in developing glaucoma and amblyopia (lazy eye).
Corrective lenses are often necessary especially as one ages. Farsightedness is often confused with presbyopia, a condition where flexibility of the lens inside the eye decreases and makes seeing close up difficult.
Causes of Hyperopia
Farsightedness occurs when light rays entering the eye focus behind the retina, rather than directly on it. This can be due to:
- Corneas or eye lenses that are not evenly and smoothly curved
- Weak focusing power
- Genetic factors
- Aging intensifies the condition because the lenses of the eyes are no longer flexible enough to compensate for the poor vision.
Signs and Symptoms
The stress and strain of tying to focus the eye can result in the following signs and symptoms:
- Blurred vision of close objects
- Squinting that improves focus
- Eye fatigue
- Aching eyes
- In children, strabismus (crossed eyes)
A routine eye exam can determine if you are farsighted, presbyopic, have glaucoma or other conditions that are causing poor close-up vision.
Corrective lenses including bifocals, trifocals, reading glasses and contact lenses correct farsightedness by changing the way light rays bend into the eyes.
Surgical correction for farsightedness involves reshaping the curvature of cornea. Your examination will determine which of the following procedures is best for your condition.
LASIK (Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is non-heat productive laser surgery where the ophthalmologist cuts and removes layers from the center of the cornea to steepen its domed shape.
LASEK (Laser Assisted Subepithelial Keratectomy)
In this procedure, the surgeon creates a flap involving only the cornea’s thin protective cover and reshapes the outer layers to steepen the curvature.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy.
Similar to LASEK, the surgeon removes the cornea’s thin protective cover, which grows back naturally conforming to the cornea’s new shape.
CK (Conductive Keratoplasty)
This procedure uses radiofrequency energy to apply heat to tiny spots around the cornea thereby changing the degree of the curvature of the cornea.
Risks of any eye surgery include:
- Under or over correction of the vision
- Side effects such as halos or starbursts
- Dry eye
- In rare cases, vision loss
If you are experiencing problems with farsightedness or have questions or concerns about your vision correction options, call our office at 425.822.8253 to schedule an appointment.