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Contrary to what the name implies, a person who is longsighted has blurred vision when looking at close objects, unless they make a constant effort to focus, which can lead to strain, headaches, and eye fatigue.

Photo courtesy of National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

What is Longsightedness (Hyperopia)?

Longsightedness or hyperopia happens when the eye is shorter than normal. This shape causes images to be focused behind the retina, rather than on it. It is a common condition that most often is inherited. As a result, the lens of the eye must exert effort to focus the image on the retina.

Babies and children are usually slightly longsighted; as their eyes grow and lengthen, the condition corrects itself, generally by age seven or eight. Young adults who remain longsighted often don’t realise their condition because they have enough flexibility in focusing power to correct the condition without the aid of spectacles or contact lenses.

Symptoms of Longsightedness

At first, symptoms may be undetectable or very slight. With age, increased difficulty seeing near objects may be noticed until eventually even distant objects appear blurred.

Treatments for Longsightedness

Longsightedness is easy to fix, and eyes that are longsighted are otherwise healthy.  Since it occurs when images are focused behind the retina, it is corrected when images are refocused onto the retina. This is usually done with common forms of vision correction, including:

  • Spectacles or contact lenses:¬† the simplest, most common method of vision correction

  • Surgery: Surgical options are available to correct longsightedness, but can be expensive and may involve more risk than corrective spectacles or contact lenses. These options use either laser technology or small incisions to reshape the cornea of the affected eye.