Eye Exams - Eye Conditions

Hyperopia means “longsight”.

A young “normal” eye looking into the far distance sees clearly without making any 
focusing effort. A hyperopic (longsighted) young eye looking into the far distance
 can only see clearly if the muscular focusing system inside the eye is used.
 A normal eye begins to use its focusing system as an object comes closer. A
long sighted eye has to make the same focusing effort for near work as a normal eye,
 but this is in addition to the effort it makes to keep distance vision clear.
 With hyperopia, a long sighted eye has to “work harder” than a normal eye at all

What causes hyperopia?

In most cases hyperopia is due to the eyeball being smaller than normal. Because of
 this, when the eye is fully relaxed vision is focused some distance behind the back of
 the eye (retina).
Clear vision is impossible unless the power of the optical system is increased either
 by the eye increasing its focusing effort, or by using spectacles or contact lenses. For 
low amounts of hyperopia young eyes will often make the necessary focusing effort
 without any eye strain or discomfort. The greater the hyperopia the greater the effort
 needed for clear vision, especially for close work.

  • The person with hyperopia may notice:

  • Vision is poor unless they make an effort to see

  • Vision is blurred when looking up from close work

  • They experience frequent eyestrain symptoms

  • They suffer from headaches and poor concentration

  • Occasionally they experience double vision

Does hyperopia change over time?

Eighty per cent of children are born slightly long sighted and some remain so
 throughout life. Since the size of an eye is the main factor governing focus, and as 
eyes continue to grow until about age 25, long sighted eyes tend to become less 
longsighted as a child grows.
Visual disorders caused by poorly focused vision are usually inherited. Eyes with
 these simple disorders are capable of good vision and require no treatment apart from 
an optical correction.
Because most changes in hyperopia are due to normal growth they happen regardless 
of factors such as the amount of close work done, rest, vitamins and exercises. 
Spectacles do not strengthen or weaken vision in fully developed eyes (after about age
 five). They merely allow the wearer to see more clearly and comfortably and their 
use is not habit forming. (For some young children wearing spectacles is very
 important if vision is to develop normally.)
 All eyes slowly lose their focusing ability with increasing age. Because of this most 
people, (even those with perfect distance vision), need reading spectacles sometime in
 their forties. Later in life a person with hyperopia also needs spectacles to give clear 
and comfortable distance vision.

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