Contrary to what the name implies, a person who is farsighted has blurred vision when looking at close objects, unless they make a constant effort to focus, which can lead to strain, headaches, and eye fatigue.
What is Farsightedness?
Farsightedness or hyperopia happens when the eye is shorter than normal. This shape causes images to be focused behind the retina, rather than on it. It is a common condition that most often is inherited. As a result, the lens of the eye must exert effort to focus the image on the retina.
Babies and children are usually slightly farsighted; as their eyes grow and lengthen, the condition corrects itself, generally by age seven or eight. Young adults who remain farsighted often don’t realize their condition because they have enough flexibility in focusing power to correct the condition without the aid of eye glasses or contact lenses.
Symptoms of Farsightedness
At first, symptoms may be undetectable or very slight. With age, increased difficulty seeing near objects may be noticed until eventually even distant objects appear blurred.
Treatments for Farsightedness
Farsightedness is easy to fix, and eyes that are farsighted are otherwise healthy. Since farsightedness occurs when images are focused behind the retina, it is corrected when images are refocused onto the retina. This is usually done with common forms of vision correction, including:
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses: the simplest, most common method of vision correction
- Surgery: Surgical options are available to correct farsightedness, but can be expensive and may involve more risk than corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses. These options use either laser technology or small incisions to reshape the cornea of the affected eye.
A person with nearsightedness can see close objects clearly, but may have trouble seeing objects from a distance – like a road sign, blackboard, or face across the room. It’s a common condition, affecting 1 in 4 adults worldwide.
What Causes Nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness or myopia happens when the eye has a long shape, which causes light rays to focus too far in front of the retina, making distance vision difficult.
Like farsightedness, myopia can be inherited. It is often discovered when children are 8 to 12 years old. During the teenage years, when the body is growing rapidly, nearsightedness can get worse. Typically, between ages 20 and 40 there is little change.
Symptoms of Nearsightedness
An eye care professional can diagnose nearsightedness with a simple eye exam. The most common symptoms of nearsightedness include:
- Blurred distance vision
- Frequent squinting of eyes
- Eye strain or headaches from trying to focus
Treatments for Nearsightedness
Nearsightedness is easily corrected by refocusing the light rays onto the retina of the eye. This is commonly done through:
- Eyeglasses and contact lenses: The simplest treatment option chosen by most patients with nearsightedness. PureVision2 contact lenses deliver the clear, crisp vision that you should demand – designed to reduce halos and glare – especially in low light.
- Vision Shaping Treatment (Orthokeratology) – an innovative process that uses customized shaping lenses to gently correct your vision while you sleep so you can enjoy clear vision while you’re awake.
- Surgery: Surgical options are available, but can be expensive, and may involve more risk than contact lens options available. These procedures use laser technology or manual incisions to remove small amounts of tissue from the cornea.
There could be many reasons why your child won’t wear the glasses prescribed. The first thing you should do is have the fit of the glasses checked; no one wants to wear glasses that are uncomfortable. Next, have the prescription checked by the person who prescribed the glasses. If the glasses fit properly and the prescription is correct then it may be that the feel of the glasses, and seeing clearly are simply unfamiliar experiences. It may be asking too much to expect your child to wear the glasses all of the time in the early stages. Make sure that you understand what the glasses are for, and when it is most important for your child to wear them.
You can then encourage your child to wear his/her glasses in a number of ways:
- put the glasses on when he/she is doing an activity with you that is enjoyable. This way your child will learn to associate wearing glasses with a pleasant experience. If necessary, make it a short experience, and build up time gradually.
- put the glasses on in front of a mirror so that your child sees themselves with the glasses on. Children like looking at their own reflection and often forget they have glasses on.
- if you or another member of the family wears glasses, make a big show of putting them on for particular tasks. Most children love to copy others.
- if your child won’t wear their glasses at home then perhaps he/she will wear them at school. Chat to the class teacher and ask for his/her help in trying to persuade your child to keep the glasses on.
Some children do not like objects near their face. Others do not like change. But once your child learns that the glasses will not hurt and gets used to seeing more clearly, he/she will be happy to wear them. Start slowly and build up the wearing time gradually. If your child still refuses to wear his/her glasses, don’t turn it into a battle. Children learn quickly that a great way to get attention from parents is to throw their glasses across the room. What a great game! Most children grow out of their reluctance to wear glasses. Continue to take your child for routine eye exams annually and discuss any concerns with the optometrists.
Children’s vision care is essential to every child’s development. Most of what a child learns in school is presented visually, so making sure your son or daughter has good vision as it can make a big difference in their academic performance.
Taking your child to an optometrist for a routine eye exam can result in detection of any nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism your child has so that it can be promptly treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. I have seen several children with vision problems that have never had a routine exam done before. Routine exams are also needed to make sure your child’s eyes are healthy and to rule out other potential problems including amblyopia, strabismus and other binocular vision problems that may interfere with your child’s vision development, academic performance and sports vision.
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should have additional eye exams at age 3, and just before they enter the first grade. For school-aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Children who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or as recommended by their optometrist.