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Farsightedness

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 6, 2023.

Overview

Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see distant objects clearly, but objects nearby may be blurry.

The degree of your farsightedness influences your focusing ability. People with severe farsightedness may be able to clearly see only objects a great distance away, while those with mild farsightedness may be able to clearly see objects that are closer.

Farsightedness usually is present at birth and tends to run in families. You can easily correct this condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Another treatment option is surgery.

Symptoms

Farsightedness may mean:

When to see a doctor

If your degree of farsightedness is pronounced enough that you can't perform a task as well as you wish, or if your quality of vision detracts from your enjoyment of activities, see an eye doctor. He or she can determine the degree of your farsightedness and advise you of options to correct your vision.

Since it may not always be readily apparent that you're having trouble with your vision, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following intervals for regular eye exams:

Adults

If you're at high risk of certain eye diseases, such as glaucoma, get a dilated eye exam every one to two years, starting at age 40.

If you don't wear glasses or contacts, have no symptoms of eye trouble, and are at a low risk of developing eye diseases, such as glaucoma, get an eye exam at the following intervals:

If you wear glasses or contacts or you have a health condition that affects the eyes, such as diabetes, you'll likely need to have your eyes checked regularly. Ask your eye doctor how frequently you need to schedule your appointments. But, if you notice problems with your vision, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible, even if you've recently had an eye exam. Blurred vision, for example, may suggest you need a prescription change, or it could be a sign of another problem.

Children and adolescents

Children need to be screened for eye disease and have their vision tested by a pediatrician, an ophthalmologist, an optometrist or another trained screener at the following ages and intervals.

Causes

Your eye has two parts that focus images:

In a normally shaped eye, each of these focusing elements has a perfectly smooth curvature, like the surface of a marble. A cornea and lens with such curvature bend (refract) all incoming light to make a sharply focused image directly on the retina, at the back of your eye.

A refractive error

If your cornea or lens isn't evenly and smoothly curved, light rays aren't refracted properly, and you have a refractive error.

Farsightedness occurs when your eyeball is shorter than normal or your cornea is curved too little. The effect is the opposite of nearsightedness.

Other refractive errors

In addition to farsightedness, other refractive errors include:

Anatomy of the eye

Your eye is a complex and compact structure measuring about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter. It receives millions of pieces of information about the outside world, which are quickly processed by your brain.

Farsightedness (hyperopia)

With typical vision, an image is sharply focused onto the surface of the retina. In farsightedness, the point of focus falls behind the retina, making close-up objects appear blurry.

Complications

Farsightedness can be associated with several problems, such as:

Diagnosis

Farsightedness is diagnosed by a basic eye exam, which includes a refraction assessment and an eye health exam.

A refraction assessment determines if you have vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia. Your doctor may use various instruments and ask you to look through several lenses to test your distance and close-up vision.

Your eye doctor likely will put drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils for the eye health exam. This may make your eyes more light sensitive for a few hours after the exam. Dilation enables your doctor to see wider views inside of your eyes.

Treatment

The goal of treating farsightedness is to help focus light on the retina through the use of corrective lenses or refractive surgery.

Prescription lenses

In young people, treatment isn't always necessary because the crystalline lenses inside the eyes are flexible enough to compensate for the condition. Depending on the degree of farsightedness, you may need prescription lenses to improve your near vision. This is especially likely as you age and the lenses inside your eyes become less flexible.

Wearing prescription lenses treats farsightedness by counteracting the decreased curvature of your cornea or the smaller size (length) of your eye. Types of prescription lenses include:

Refractive surgery

Although most refractive surgical procedures are used to treat nearsightedness, they can also be used for mild to moderate farsightedness. These surgical treatments correct farsightedness by reshaping the curvature of your cornea. Refractive surgery methods include:

Talk with your doctor about the possible side effects of refractive surgery.

Lifestyle and home remedies

You can't prevent farsightedness, but you can help protect your eyes and your vision by following these tips:

See your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms: Sudden loss of vision in one eye with or without pain; sudden hazy or blurred vision; double vision; or visual flashes of light, black spots or halos around lights. This may represent a serious medical or eye condition.

Preparing for an appointment

There are three kinds of specialists for various eye conditions:

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

For farsightedness, questions to ask your doctor include:

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, such as:

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