What is hyperopia?
- Also known as farsightedness, it is a refractive defect or error in visual focusing
- Images are focused behind the retina
- Vision becomes blurred, especially up close.
What causes it?
Most babies are hyperopic at birth (physiological type), a defect that is corrected as the eye develops, and usually disappears during adolescence. If it is not fully corrected by this age, it is likely that it will persist for life, but will stabilise.
If farsightedness has not been completely corrected by adolescence, it is likely to persist for life. Although hyperopia does not usually evolve.
How can it be prevented?
- In most cases, it is an inherited refractive defect
- Occasionally, a comprehensive eye examination is the only way to diagnose hyperopia.
- It cannot be prevented but regular eye examinations, especially in childhood, help to detect it in its early stages.
- It is caused by the diameter of the eyeball being smaller than normal or the cornea being too flat.
It is advisable for people who have been diagnosed with hyperopia to have their eyes checked once a year because farsightedness can be associated with other diseases, such as glaucoma.
- The main symptom is blurred vision of nearby objects.
- Most patients with hyperopia, however, are usually asymptomatic in their youth, as they are able to compensate for poor near vision through the accommodative ability of the crystalline lens (the eye’s natural lens whose elasticity enables objects to be focused on). The crystalline lens’s elasticity is lost with age.
Constant movement of the eye’s muscles in young patients can cause symptoms that are not directly related to vision, such as:
- redness of the eye
Special attention to the little ones
Gestures such as rubbing the eyes or wrinkling the forehead on a regular basis may be the first signs of hyperopia.
For that reason, it is important that children have regular eye tests.
In the case of children, parents should be particularly attentive to certain symptoms, some of which are not usually associated with vision, such as underachievement at school or the inability to adapt.
If hyperopia in children remains untreated it can cause:
Hyperopia can easily be corrected by wearing glasses with converging lenses or contact lenses.
Even if the degree of hyperopia is small, correction is still advisable to prevent secondary problems such as headaches or eye irritation.
- If the patient prefers not to wear glasses or contact lenses, some refractive surgery techniques are available for patients with a low degree of hyperopia.
- Another option is phakic intraocular lenses (between the cornea and the crystalline lens), indicated for patients with greater defects.
- For patients over the age of 40-45, pseudophakic lenses (replacement of the crystalline lens) can also be a solution.The procedure used is the same as that used in cataract surgery.
Refractive surgery to correct hyperopia is particularly delicate and requires an exhaustive evaluation in order to select the best treatment.