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Long-sightedness: How to correct for hyperopia

hyperopia eyeglasses on top of a book

Hyperopia, or long sightedness, is a common vision problem that primarily affects children.

A recent analysis of 40 international studies found the prevalence of hyperopia ranged from 8.4 percent among 6-year-old children, 2 to 3 percent among children ages 9 to 14 years ,and approximately 1 percent among 15-year-olds.

Someone with long sightedness generally can see distant objects clearly, but has difficulty focusing on objects that are up close.

The condition also is called hypermetropia.

Hyperopia signs and symptoms

Long sighted people sometimes have headaches or eye strain and may squint or feel fatigued when performing work at close range.

If you get these symptoms while wearing your eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may need an eye exam and a new prescription.

What causes hyperopia / hypermetropia?

In an eye with hyperopia, light rays entering the eye focus behind the retina, rather than directly on it.

Typically, this is because the eyeball of a long sighted person is shorter than normal.

Many children are born long sighted and "outgrow" it as the eyeball lengthens with normal growth.

Sometimes people confuse hyperopia with presbyopia, which also causes near vision problems among people after age 40 for different reasons.

Hyperopia treatment

Long sightedness can be corrected with spectacles or contact lenses to change the way light rays bend into the eyes.

If your spectacle or contact lens prescription begins with plus numbers, like +2.50, you are long sighted.

You may need to wear your spectacles or contacts all the time or only when reading, working on a computer or doing other close-up work.

When selecting spectacles for the correction of long sightedness, choose aspheric high-index lenses — especially for stronger prescriptions. These lenses are thinner, lighter, and have a slimmer, more attractive profile.

Aspheric lenses also reduce the magnified "bug-eye" appearance lenses for hyperopia often cause.

Be aware, though, that high-index aspheric lenses reflect more light than standard plastic lenses. For the best comfort and appearance, make sure the lenses include anti-reflective coating, which eliminates distracting lens reflections.

Also, spectacle lenses for longsighted children should be made of lightweight polycarbonate lens material for superior comfort and impact resistance.

And photochromic lenses that automatically darken in response to sunlight are highly recommended for kids and anyone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors.

For significant amounts of long sightedness, contact lenses typically are preferred over spectacle lenses. This is because contact lenses provide more natural vision and better peripheral vision than spectacles for hyperopia correction.

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