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Farsightedness

Definition

Farsightedness is greater difficulty seeing near objects than distant objects.

Alternative Names

Hyperopia

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

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, but children have a very flexible eye lens, which helps make up for the problem. As aging occurs, glasses or contact lenses may be required to correct the vision. If you have family members who are farsighted, you are also more likely to become farsighted.

Seeing

Watch this video about:
Seeing

Symptoms

Mild farsightedness may not cause any problems except for a need for reading glasses.

Signs and tests

A general eye examination to diagnosis 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, and can be used for those who do not wish to wear glasses or contacts.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome is expected to be good.

Complications

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

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider or ophthalmologist if symptoms of farsightedness develop and you have not had an eye examination recently.

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

If you have been diagnosed with farsightedness or suspect you may have farsightedness and you suddenly develop severe eye pain, eye redness, or decreased vision you should see your eye doctor immediately.

References

Katz M, Kruger PB. The Human Eye as an Optical System. In:Tasman W, Jaeger EA, eds. Duane’s Ophthalmology. 2012 ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:vol 1;chap 33.


Review Date: 9/18/2012
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California.
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