Facts About Hyperopia

This information was developed by the National Eye Institute to help patients and their families search for general information about hyperopia. An eye care professional who has examined the patient’s eyes and is familiar with his or her medical history is the best person to answer specific questions.

Hyperopia Defined

What is hyperopia?

Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, is a common type of refractive error where distant objects may be seen more clearly than objects that are near. However, people experience hyperopia differently. Some people may not notice any problems with their vision, especially when they are young. For people with significant hyperopia, vision can be blurry for objects at any distance, near or far.

A color illustration of hyperopia highlighting the cornea, pupil and lens, and the way an image focuses behind the retina.

What is refraction?

Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. Vision occurs when light rays are bent (refracted) as they pass through the cornea and the lens. The light is then focused on the retina. The retina converts the light-rays into messages that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets these messages into the images we see.

What are refractive errors?

In refractive errors, the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing on the retina. The length of the eyeball (longer or shorter), changes in the shape of the cornea, or aging of the lens can cause refractive errors.

Causes and Risk Factors

How does hyperopia develop?

Hyperopia develops in eyes that focus images behind the retina instead of on the retina, which can result in blurred vision. This occurs when the eyeball is too short, which prevents incoming light from focusing directly on the retina. It may also be caused by an abnormal shape of the cornea or lens.

Who is at risk for hyperopia?

Hyperopia can affect both children and adults. It affects about 5 to 10 percent of Americans. People whose parents have hyperopia may also be more likely to get the condition.

Symptoms and Detection

What are the signs and symptoms of hyperopia?

The symptoms of hyperopia vary from person to person. Your eye care professional can help you understand how the condition affects you.

Common signs and symptoms of hyperopia include:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Squinting
  • Blurry vision, especially for close objects

How is hyperopia diagnosed?

An eye care professional can diagnose hyperopia and other refractive errors during a comprehensive dilated eye examination. People with this condition often visit their eye care professional with complaints of visual discomfort or blurred vision.

Treatment

How is hyperopia corrected?

Hyperopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery.

Eyeglasses are the simplest and safest way to correct hyperopia. Your eye care professional can prescribe lenses that will help correct the problem and help you see your best.

Contact Lenses work by becoming the first refractive surface for light rays entering the eye, causing a more precise refraction or focus. In many cases, contact lenses provide clearer vision, a wider field of vision, and greater comfort. They are a safe and effective option if fitted and used properly. However, contact lenses are not right for everyone. Discuss this with your eye care professional.

Refractive Surgery aims to permanently change the shape of the cornea which will improve refractive vision. Surgery can decrease or eliminate dependency on wearing eyeglasses and contact lenses. There are many types of refractive surgeries and surgical options should be discussed with an eye care professional.

Fact Sheet Blurb

The National Eye Institute (NEI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is the Federal government’s lead agency for vision research that leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness.