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Hyperopia / hypermetropia: Signs, causes and correction options

hyperopia eyeglasses on top of a book

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, 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 farsightedness 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

Farsighted 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 farsighted person is shorter than normal.

Many children are born farsighted 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

Farsightedness can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses to change the way light rays bend into the eyes.

If your glasses or contact lens prescription begins with plus numbers, like +2.50, you are farsighted.

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

When selecting eyeglasses for the correction of farsightedness, 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 eyeglasses 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, eyeglass lenses for farsighted 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 farsightedness, contact lenses typically are preferred over eyeglass lenses. This is because contacts provide more natural vision and better peripheral vision than eyeglasses for hyperopia correction.

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