Hyperopia (Farsightedness): An Overview

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Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is a condition where distant objects are easier to see than near objects. It is a common eye problem. In severe cases of hyperopia, distant objects may appear blurry as well. If your eye doctor suggests you are farsighted, what does it really mean?

Child being tested by an optometrist
Verywell / Ellen Lindner

Hyperopia Symptoms

Hyperopia symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty focusing on nearby objects
  • Eyestrain
  • Pain around the eyes
  • A headache around the forehead

Headaches often occur because most people are able to compensate for farsighted vision by subconsciously focusing harder.

See an eyecare provider if any of these symptoms cause daily discomfort or make it hard for you to complete certain tasks.

Unfortunately, because of this ability to compensate, many children with hyperopia often pass vision screenings that use an eye chart given by schools and pediatricians. It is for this reason that it is important that all children have a complete exam with a photo screener or other similar tool fairly early in life.

Farsighted vs. Nearsighted

Farsightedness can sometimes be confused with nearsightedness, also called myopia. People who are nearsighted, however, have the opposite problem as farsighted people. Nearsighted people can see objects up close but have a harder time seeing distant objects.

Hyperopia Causes

Hyperopia is caused by a defect of the eyeball. The eyeball of a farsighted person is shorter than normal, causing light to be focused behind the retina instead of directly on it. In some cases, the eye may be of normal length, but the cornea may be flatter than normal.

Hyperopia is not the same as astigmatism. Astigmatism is also related to the shape of the eye, but it's caused by an abnormally curved cornea and the blurring can be in either close or distant vision.

How Hyperopia is Diagnosed

Farsightedness is detected by a simple test called refraction. Young people are dilated during this test so they are unable to mask their farsightedness by accommodating their vision. Farsightedness is usually detected early in life.

Hyperopia Treatment

If you are farsighted, glasses or contact lenses can help correct the problem. In more severe cases, hyperopia treatment may include surgery such as an ocular implant or LASIK vision correction. 

Not everyone who is farsighted needs glasses, especially children. Many children are born with hyperopia but usually outgrow it as the eyeball grows longer. Glasses are often reserved for children with moderate hyperopia and accommodative esotropia (a form of "cross-eye") or reduced visual acuity. There is insufficient evidence to recommend that all children with moderate hyperopia alone should wear glasses.

Farsightedness is often confused with presbyopia. Although presbyopia may also create problems focusing on things at a close range, it is caused by the gradual loss in flexibility of the eye's natural lens. Presbyopia affects most people around 40 years of age. Reading glasses or bifocals are generally prescribed for patients with presbyopia

A Word From Verywell

Don't be discouraged if you are told that you are farsighted. Farsightedness is easily treated with glasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgery is an option for adult patients who wish to see clearly without wearing glasses. 

If you are farsighted, you may only need to wear glasses for reading or working on the computer. Depending on your age and the amount of farsightedness, you may have to wear them all of the time.

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5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Optometric Association. Hyperopia (farsightedness).

  2. iScreen Vision. Pediatric hyperopia vision testing.

  3. National Eye Institute. Refractive errors.

  4. Lambert SR. Should glasses be prescribed for all children with moderate hyperopia? Ophthalmology. April 2016;123(4):676-678. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.12.035.

  5. VSP Vision Care. Are you suffering from presbyopia or farsightedness?