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Farsightedness

Definition

Farsightedness is having a harder time seeing object that are close than things that are far away.

Alternative Names

Hyperopia

Causes

Farsightedness is the result of the visual image being focused behind the retina rather than directly on it. It may be caused by the eyeball being too small or the focusing power being too weak.

Farsightedness is often present from birth. However, children have a very flexible eye lens, which helps make up for the problem. As aging occurs, glasses or contact lenses may be needed to correct the vision. If you have family members who are farsighted, you are also more likely to become farsighted.

Seeing

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Seeing

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Aching eyes
  • Blurred vision when looking at close objects
  • Crossed eyes (strabismus) in some children
  • Eye strain
  • Headache while reading

Mild farsightedness may not cause any problems. However, you may need reading glasses.

Exams and Tests

A general eye exam to diagnose farsightedness may include the following tests:

This list is not all-inclusive.

Treatment

Farsightedness is easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Surgery is available for correcting farsightedness in adults. This is an option for those who do not wish to wear glasses or contacts.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is expected to be good.

Possible Complications

Farsightedness can be a risk factor for glaucoma and crossed eyes.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider or eye doctor if you have symptoms of farsightedness and you have not had a recent eye exam.

Also, call if vision begins to get worse after you have been diagnosed with farsightedness.

See a provider right away if you think you have farsightedness and you suddenly develop the following symptoms:

  • Severe eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Decreased vision

References

Miller D, Schol P, Magnante P. Optics of the normal eye. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 2.5.

Yanoff M, Cameron JD. Diseases of the visual system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 423.

Review Date:7/22/2016
Reviewed By:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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