What is Farsightedness?

Farsightedness, or hyperopia is the inability to properly focus on close up objects. Objects that are distant may appear in normal focus, but those at a short distance will be blurred. You may find that you can read distant traffic signs with no problem, but you have trouble reading text in books or newspapers¬† until you place them far enough away to regain proper focus. You may find that as your condition worsens with age, that you’ll no longer be able to hold reading material far enough away to bring it back into focus.

Farsightedness is usually brought about by a natural change in the shape of your eye that causes your eye to become more compressed, rather than retaining the normal round shape. This causes the light entering the eye to focus behind of the retina, resulting in an out-of-focus image. In many cases, double vision can also result from farsightedness.

Symptoms of Farsightedness

The main symptom is blurred vision when focusing on near objects. If you find yourself squinting when looking at close up items, you may be farsighted. If you use reading glasses but have no need of glasses to see distant objects, you may be farsighted.¬† A routine eye examine can determine if you’re farsighted.

Diagnosing Farsightedness

A routine eye exam will determine if you’re farsighted. Farsightedness usually begins as we age and its effects can vary from mild to moderate to high. You usually notice the condition worsens each year. Mild cases may not require any corrective action.

People in their 40s and 50s are most likely to notice an increasing level of farsightedness. Many times they’ll try to compensate by holding reading material further away in order to maintain proper focus. The problem with this approach is that eventually your arms may not be long enough to achieve the distance required for proper focusing.

Treatment of Farsightedness

Glasses or contact lenses can treat farsightedness by enabling you to focus on nearby objects. But this method will usually require removal of the lenses in order to see distant objects. As an alternative to removing your ‘reading’ glasses, you can choose to wear bifocal glasses. With bifocals, the lower portion of the lens allows you to focus on close objects and the top portion of the lens is optimized for distance focusing.

In the not too distant past, most doctors felt that LASIK surgery was not an appropriate treatment for farsightedness. The problem was that if the surgery corrected focusing for close up objects, distance focusing was sacrificed. But new methods have been developed that make this way of thinking obsolete.

LASIK surgery helps to correct farsightedness by using a laser to reshape the cornea so that close up focusing ability is restored. But here’s the trick – it’s only performed on one eye! A preliminary eye exam determines which eye is best equipped for distance viewing and that eye is kept as-is. The other eye receives the LASIK treatment to improve close distance focusing. Now you have one eye for distance viewing and one for close up viewing. Your brain merges the images from both eyes, and the result is that you can see near and far.