Normal Vision

Normal vision

What is farsightedness?

Farsightedness is a condition affecting a person’s vision. People with farsightedness:

  • Typically have an easier time seeing objects that are far away.
  • Have a difficult time focusing their eyes on things that are close, like words in a book.

Severe farsightedness changes that relationship. It can make all things look blurry, no matter the distance.

Who is at risk for farsightedness?

Farsightedness affects about 5% to 10% of Americans. Most children are farsighted but often outgrow the condition. Farsightedness becomes more common with age. At least half of people older than 65 have some degree of farsightedness.

You can also inherit farsightedness. If your parents are farsighted, you’re likely farsighted, too.


Farsightedness (hyperopia)

What causes farsightedness?

A farsighted eye does not refract (bend) light properly. It under-focuses the light and forms an incomplete image on the retina. When that happens, you can’t see clearly.

To understand this, it helps to consider how normal vision works (see illustration).

  1. Light enters the eye.
  2. Light refracts as it passes through two parts. First comes the cornea, the covering at the front of the eye. Then comes the lens, a clear piece that focuses the light deeper into the eye.
  3. The light forms a focused point onto the retina, a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye
  4. The retina sends information to the brain.
  5. The brain translates the messages into images.

Farsightedness is a problem with that second step, refraction. Refractive problems may occur because:

  • The eyeball is too short.
  • The cornea is too flat.
  • The lens is getting older.

What are the symptoms of farsightedness?

Some farsighted people may not notice any problems with their vision. But if the eye muscles have to work harder, you may develop symptoms such as:

  • Blurry vision, especially when looking at things that are close.
  • Difficulty reading.
  • Dull pain in the eye.
  • Eyestrain.
  • Headaches.
  • Squinting.

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