What It Means to Be Farsighted

A medical condition known as hyperopia

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Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is a common condition in which distant objects are easier to see than things that are closer to you. Someone who is farsighted may be able to see a highway sign with ease but need to squint when reading a dinner menu.

Your eye doctor may diagnose you with farsightedness when performing a routine comprehensive eye exam. Or, you may be diagnosed after seeing a healthcare professional about headaches, difficulty focusing on nearby objects, or pain around the eyes.

Glasses, contacts, or another form of vision correction can help you see things near to you more clearly.

Hyperopia Symptoms

Child being tested by an optometrist
Verywell / Ellen Lindner

See an eye care provider if vision or eye symptoms cause discomfort or make it hard for you to complete some tasks.

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.

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. This is why it is important for all children to have a complete eye exam including distance and near vision testing and refraction testing if indicated.

Farsighted vs. Nearsighted

  • Also called hyperopia

  • Difficulty seeing objects up close

  • Easier time seeing objects at a distance

  • Also called myopia

  • Difficulty seeing objects far away

  • Easier time seeing objects up close

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.

How Hyperopia Is Diagnosed

Farsightedness is detected by a simple retinoscopy test. During this non-invasive test, your eye doctor will shine a light in your eye to see how the light bends in relation to your retina.

Young people are dilated during this test so they are unable to involuntarily 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. But not everyone needs them, 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.

In more severe cases, hyperopia treatment may include surgery such as an ocular implant or LASIK vision correction

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it better to be nearsighted or farsighted?

    Neither is better than the other. The severity of your case is what matters most. Thankfully, vision correction like glasses or contact lenses can lessen the impact these conditions can have on your life.

  • Is hyperopia the same as astigmatism?

    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.

  • Is farsightedness the same as presbyopia?

    No. 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. Reading glasses or bifocals are generally prescribed for patients with presbyopia.

4 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.

By Troy Bedinghaus, OD
Troy L. Bedinghaus, OD, board-certified optometric physician, owns Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida. He is an active member of the American Optometric Association.