What is Hyperopia?

29 Apr 2012

It is a defective disorder of the eye/s causing difficulties in near vision. The difficulty is typically in the focussing on nearby objects (but as it worsens the person may find it difficult to focus at any distance). When the objects get nearer to the eye, the normal eye increases its optical power to continue with the object in focus but a hyperopic eye fails to do so precisely as a result of insufficient power of the cornea (less curved) or the lens or if the eyeball is too small.

Synonyms (Other Names)

  • Far Sightedness
  • Long Sightedness
  • Hypermetropia

Epidemiology or the occurrence rates in the population

Most neonates born at the full-term are mildly hyperopic while the premature infants show lesser frequencies. But the trends change as the ocular development completes. (4-9% in 6-9 month old infants to 3.6% in the 1-year olds, tapering down further with the increasing age and myopia becoming more common)
There is no sex predilection as it affects the populations of males and females alike.
Ethnic trends have been, however, noted with Native Americans, African Americans and Pacific Islanders showing the most prevalence.

Etiology (Cause)

- Largely Genetic
The involved eye is either too short or the cornea is flat due to the hereditary factors. The image is hence, not formed at an exact location on retina but instead, at a point behind the retina causing it to become blurred. Children born with hyperopia experience the visual blurring due to the difference in the images produced by the two eyes. They would not have ever appreciated the fine details of an object being born Hyperopic. Without going through a hyperopia correction procedure, a person may never realise full freedom of vision.

- It can also result in pathologically from sinus infections, injury to the eye, migrainous attacks, aging or cancer of the eye.

Presenting Complaints

  • The person may wish to sit or stand closer to the television when viewing as to ensure that they can see the blurred image in its entirety.
  • The person may also develop a natural squint as the images produced are different, and so the two eyes work independent of each other.
  • The patient may discover that they have difficulty with their hand-eye co-ordination and may struggle with catching objects. This is more common with young children although these symptoms can still be present in fully grown adults.
  • It can become difficult to concentrate their attention on nearby objects.
  • Eyes get easily strained or fatigued.
  • Headaches can occur following prolonged time periods of concentrating on near objects.
  • Burning or aching of the eyes

Types of Hyperopia based on their clinical appearance, severity and eye accommodation

  • Simple Hyperopia - Occurs as a result of biological variation. It develops by a corneal or a lens error. The cause is essentially genetic.
  • Pathological Hyperopia - Occurs due to poor development of the eye during the prenatal time periods or early postnatal growth periods. An ocular disease leading to inflammation, an ocular neoplasm (tumour) or an injury to the eye
  • Functional Hyperopia - A paralysis of accommodation

Based on the degree of severity of the disorder

  • Low Hyperopia with an error of +2.00 D(Diopters) or less
  • Moderate Hyperopia with an error of +2.25 D to +5.00 D
  • High Hyperopia with an error of over +5.00 D

Based on Accommodation possibilities

  • Facultative Hyperopia which has the potential to be overcome by accommodation
  • Absolute Hyperopia is that which does not get compensated with accommodation

Other disorders of the eyes closely associated with Hyperopia

  • Blurred vision
  • Asthenopia
  • Accomodate Dysfunction
  • Binocular Dysfunction
  • Amblyopia
  • Strabismus

The Amblyopia and Strabismus can be easily prevented in children if Hyperopia is diagnozed early.
In older children to teenagers, learning can be deeply affected due to hyperopia.

Treatment

Hyperopia treatment is based upon an apt diagnosis taking the help of the sophisticated array of diagnostic measures available at the various eyecare institutions. It is a multi-professional team guided planning that includes Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Orthoptists and Opticians.

Hyperopia can be also surgically corrected with the help of refractive Surgery (LASIK surgery). Laser surgery for long sighted sufferers can improve the overall quality of life. As a bottom-line, there is no single treatment option for all the Hyperopic cases and it largely varies depending upon your lifestyle and requirements. A thorough discussion with your eye-specialist ensures the most successful way crafted for you.

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