What is long-sightedness?
Long-sightedness, or hyperopia as it is known medically, is a refractive error of the eye that can be compensated for or corrected with surgery. It usually occurs when the eyeball is shorter than required for the curvature (refractive power) of the cornea or more generally when there is a mismatch between the refractive power and the length of your eye. This results in light rays coming to focus behind the retina; for normal crisp vision the light rays need to focus on the retina of your eye.
Long-sightedness is naturally present at birth and the early years of life; over the first 5 to 6 years the degree of long-sightedness gradually decreases through a process known as emmetropisation. However, a significant proportion of the population will remain hyperopic (long-sighted) in adulthood.
What symptoms does hyperopia cause?
Headache after prolonged activities that require close visual attention; this is often caused by partially closing the eyelids and prolonged effort (accommodation) of your lens
In low degrees of hyperopia, the near vision is blurred, and the distance vision remains clear
In moderate degrees the near vision is blurred, and the distance vision remains clearer
In higher degrees of long-sightedness, or in the fourth and fifth decades of life when the lens increasingly loses its ability to accommodate, the vision becomes blurred for near, intermediate and distance
Why does hyperopia develop?
Similar to other refractive errors, the cause of long-sightedness is not fully understood. Overall, it represents a failure of emmetropisation, the biological process that matches the length of the eye to its refractive power. Genetic factors are considered to play an important role, as the condition does run in families. Rural living and prolonged outdoor activities have also been implicated in studies.
How is hyperopia diagnosed?
Long-sightedness and other refractive errors can be diagnosed by your optometrist (optician) or eye doctor. The examination involves a refraction in order to assess the refractive status of the eye.
Other conditions that may co-exist, such as squint and lazy eye, can also be detected.
How can long-sightedness be treated?
There are a few options for the treatment of long-sightedness:
Spectacles are the most common method for correction of long-sightedness and other refractive errors of the eye. Disadvantages include distortion of your peripheral vision, especially for higher prescriptions, and inconveniences, such as getting wet in the rain, fogging when walking indoors, inability to wear sunglasses and the requirement for separate readers, to mention a few.
Contact lenses are also commonly used for long-sightedness. They are a good option as they overcome the above limitations of glasses. They do have their own limitations though, as they reduce oxygen delivery to the eye. As a result they can cause dry eye and with prolonged use can lead to contact lens intolerance and sight-threatening infection.
Laser eye surgery provides a permanent treatment to long-sightedness by altering the shape and refractive power of the cornea, so that light rays come into focus on the retina of the eye. We offer a range of laser eye procedures, allowing us to recommend the best treatment for your eyes and needs; this includes LASIK, LASEK/Advanced Surface Ablation and PRESBYOND, the laser procedure that can also eliminate the need for reading glasses.
An Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) is like a permanent plastic contact lens that is implanted in your eye. It is a safe alternative to laser eye surgery, usually chosen for higher prescriptions when laser surgery may not be the best option.
Laser and ICL surgery can dramatically improve your quality of life – if you're interested in finding out more call
or Contact Us for a free screening for laser eye surgery.