We’ve recently discussed nearsightedness, or myopia, a term most people are familiar with. “Hyperopia” isn’t as commonly known, but that’s the technical term for farsightedness, a condition in which the focal point of the eye is located behind the retina. This means that objects in the distance can often be seen clearly while the things in front of your face are blurry.
This can lead to those who suffer from hyperopia dealing with headaches on a regular basis, or eyestrain and increased fatigue when they’re working with objects close to them.
So what physical conditions cause hyperopia?
The first thing that can lead to hyperopia is the growth of the eye. Just like an eye that grows too long can cause myopia, an eye that doesn’t grow long enough can result in hyperopia.
And is that shorter eye growth something that’s genetic? If your parents have hyperopia, does that increase your chances of having it yourself?
Yes, according to one doctor of optometry.
“Nearsightedness and farsightedness have a strong genetic component, especially if a parent is very nearsighted or farsighted. If both parents are nearsighted or farsighted, there’s a good chance their child will be the same,” says Dr. J.P. Lowery, chief of pediatrics at Pacific University College of Optometry.
However, in children, hyperopia may not be a permanent condition. If the problem with the child’s eye is that hasn’t grown enough to have the focal point for light coming into the eye hitting the retina, over the years the eye could correct itself. A child’s eye can continue to grow into the late teens, so a child who is farsighted at age four could end up with 20/20 vision at age 17. Thus although genetics do come into play, until eye growth is finished you cannot make any kind of permanent determination about a child’s hyperopia.
Hyperopia can also occur if the cornea of the eye is too flat. The cornea, which is the transparent surface of your eye, will cause light rays to have their focal point behind the retina if the curve is not sharp enough.
Hyperopia can also in rare cases be a result of damage to the eye from an accident or an infection.
So how do you treat and correct hyperopia?
Eyeglasses are the simplest and most common way to correct hyperopia. However, many people quickly tire of constantly having to wear glasses and keep track of their glasses when they take them off. Contact lenses are another option for dealing with hyperopia, but they too require daily maintenance and can easily be lost when removed for cleaning or storage.
Two permanent ways to fix the problem of hyperopia is to have LASIK surgery or Refractive Lens Exchange. While LASIK is not for everyone, a large percentage of those who suffer from hyperopia have been able to discontinue using glasses or contacts after a successful LASIK procedure.
In the procedure, the cornea of the eye will have to be shaped from a flatter form to a more hill-shaped structure, so it’s vital that you talk to an ophthalmologist who is experienced with LASIK and can give you all the information you need to make a wise decision about your vision.
Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a procedure where the natural lens in your eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens (IOL). Many times a multifocal lens is used, allowing one to permanently see both near and distance eithout glasses!
Dr. Silverman at OCLI is one of those experts in both LASIK and RLE who can help you discover how LASIK can change your life. Schedule your appointment today!