A man who's farsighted wears glasses to read a book he's holding

At a glance: Farsightedness

  • Symptoms:

    Trouble seeing things up close, eye strain

  • Diagnosis:

    Eye exam

  • Treatment:

    Eyeglasses, contact lenses, surgery

What is farsightedness?

Farsightedness is a refractive error that makes nearby objects look blurry. It happens when the shape of the eye makes light focus behind the retina (a light sensitive layer of tissue at the back of your eye), instead of on it.

If you’re farsighted, your eye doctor can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to help you see clearly.

What are the symptoms of farsightedness?

The most common symptoms of farsightedness are:

  • Trouble seeing things up close 
  • Eye strain (when your eyes feel tired or sore)
  • Headaches — especially when reading

If you have mild farsightedness, you may not notice any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get regular eye exams — so your doctor can make sure you’re seeing as clearly as possible.

Children with severe farsightedness may also be at higher risk for other eye problems, like crossed eyes or amblyopia (lazy eye).

What causes farsightedness?

Farsightedness happens when your eyeball grows too short from front to back, or when there are problems with the shape of your cornea (clear front layer of the eye) or lens (an inner part of the eye that helps the eye focus).

These problems make light focus behind the retina, instead of on it — and that makes nearby objects look blurry.

Most people who are farsighted are born with it, but it may not cause vision problems until you get older. You’re more likely to be farsighted if other members of your family are farsighted too.

How will my eye doctor check for farsightedness?

Eye doctors can check for farsightedness as part of a comprehensive eye exam. The exam is simple and painless.

What’s the treatment for farsightedness?

The most common treatments for farsightedness are eyeglasses or contact lenses. Your eye doctor will prescribe the right lenses to help you see as clearly as possible.

Doctors can also use surgery to treat farsightedness in adults. The surgery changes the shape of your cornea so that it can focus light clearly.

Last updated: September 8, 2020