Understanding & Treating Farsightedness
Farsightedness is a refractive error (a common eye disorder) that makes nearby objects look blurry. It happens when the shape of the eye causes light to focus behind the retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye) instead of on it. The retina plays a vital role in your vision because it converts light signals into neural signals and sends them on to the brain so you can see.
What causes farsightedness?
Farsightedness occurs when the shape of the eye is shorter than normal. Instead of the eye having a round shape, those who have difficulty seeing up close have eyes that are too short front to back. This shape flattens the retina in the back of the eye, causing the point of focus to fall behind the eye. As a result, the cornea (the transparent part of the eye covering the iris and the pupil) cannot refract light properly.
There are two types of farsightedness: hyperopia and presbyopia. Both conditions make it difficult to see and perform up-close tasks without corrective lenses. However, presbyopia develops over time and is often age-related, while hyperopia is hereditary.
The lens inside the eye gradually loses flexibility with age, making it more challenging to focus on and perform up-close tasks. Though farsightedness seems to appear suddenly, the eye loses its near-focusing abilities slowly over several years, often beginning around the age of 40.
Common signs and symptoms of farsightedness
Those with mild farsightedness may not experience any symptoms, so it’s important to get regular eye exams to see as clearly as possible.
General symptoms of presbyopia and hyperopia include:
- Trouble seeing things up close (e.g., reading small print, needlework)
- Blurred vision at a normal reading distance
- Requiring brighter lighting when reading or performing up-close tasks
- Squinting to see clearly
- Eye strain (sore, tired, burning, or itching eyes)
- Headaches (especially during or after performing up-close tasks)
Lifestyle changes to help protect your eyes and vision
While you can’t prevent farsightedness, you can help protect your eyes and vision with these tips:
- Get regular eye exams, even if you see well.
- Control chronic health conditions (e.g., high blood pressure and diabetes) as they can affect your vision if left untreated.
- Protect your eyes from the sun as ultraviolet rays can harm your vision and increase your risk of eye issues like cataracts, corneal sunburn, and macular degeneration.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., salmon, walnuts, and kidney beans) to protect your eyes from macular degeneration, glaucoma, and dry eye syndrome.
- Stop smoking to lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Treatment options for farsightedness
The most common treatments for hyperopia and presbyopia are eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, many people may also be candidates for bladeless LASIK surgery, an advanced version of the traditional LASIK procedure.
If it’s been more than a year since your last comprehensive eye exam, visit Eye Specialists of Louisiana. Our team of board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists, and licensed opticians offers the most advanced techniques and technologies for vision correction.
Whether you need eyeglasses, contact lenses, or bladeless LASIK surgery, we’ll help you determine which option is right for you so you can see again. Please call 255-768-7777 to get started today.