Eye Diseases & Conditions

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

What is hyperopia (Also called farsightedness)?

Hyperopia (hi-per-OH-pea-uh), or farsightedness, is a type of refractive error. Hyperopia is a vision condition in which near objects– such as books, menus, or a smartphone- appear blurred, but distant objects remain clear. Younger children can see clearly at near with hyperopia but as they age or get tired near objects can appear blurry. However, people with a high amount of hyperopia may have trouble seeing at all distances. Hyperopia can be:

  • Low hyperopia is +2.00D or less
  • Moderate hyperopia is from +2.25 to +5.00D,
  • High hyperopia is +5.25D or more

Understanding Diopter

The “D” in the numbers listed above stands for “diopter.” A diopter is the unit used to measure the strength of a prescription for corrective eyewear (glasses or contact lenses). It indicates the focusing power of your glasses or contact lenses.  Weaker prescriptions have lower diopter numbers. Stronger prescriptions have higher diopter numbers.


In hyperopia, nearer objects focus behind the retina (top image), instead of on the retina (lower image). This causes blurred vision for nearer objects.

Why is hyperopia a problem?

  • Without correction, you may have headaches and a dull pain in your eyes.
  • Severe hyperopia may cause you to experience crossed eyes, amblyopia (lazy eye), and eyestrain.

What causes hyperopia?

Hyperopia is caused by:

  • An eye that is too short from front to back of the eye to focus what you see on the back of the eye.
  • A flaw in the shape of the cornea (clear part in the front of the eye) or the lens (clear part of the eye behind the pupil that brings light into focus on the back of the eye).

This results in the eye not focusing light on the back of your eye called the retina (the retina acts like the film in a camera to help us see) leading to blurred vision at close distances.

If you have family members with a history of hyperopia, you are more likely to also have hyperopia. If you have mild hyperopia, you may not experience any symptoms. Undergoing regular eye examinations will help you take charge of your vision health.

Hyperopia Diagnosis

An ophthalmologist (an eye doctor with a medical degree: MD or DO) or an optometrist (an eye doctor with an optometry degree: OD) will conduct a dilated eye examination to find out if you have hyperopia and determine what treatment is needed.

During the eye exam, the eye doctor will conduct the following tests, among others:

  • Visual acuity: This test will find out how well you can see through your central vision in each eye. This is the part of the exam when you read an eye chart with shapes or letters that get progressively smaller.
  • Refraction test: This test will find out if you need eyeglasses or lenses by measuring how your eye focuses light on the back of your eye. By using a photoropter (a device which can switch between specific lenses to compare which is better for your sight) and having you read the eye chart, the eye doctor can understand your specific vision needs. The eye doctor can also measure your specific prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses using a device called a retinoscope.
  • Dilated eye examination: The eye doctor will dilate (widen) the pupils of the eyes with eye drops to allow a better view of the back of your eyes (retina and macula).

Your prescription may change over time, so it is important to have regular dilated eye exams and review treatment options based on your changing needs.

Hyperopia treatment

A few treatments are available for hyperopia. This may include eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other treatments to help you see clearly. Your eye doctor will work with you to identify the right treatment for your specific needs.

  • Eyeglasses: Glasses for hyperopia act like a magnifying lens (thicker in the center) to focus light on the back of your eye correctly. Eyeglass prescription for hyperopia will be a positive number, with a larger number meaning a higher amount of hyperopia. It is important to communicate your specific vision needs to your eye doctor, since eyeglasses can be modified specifically for computer work, reading, hobbies, sports, or all-around needs.
  • Contact lenses: Contact lenses also work by focusing light correctly on the back of your eye so that you can see more clearly but are worn directly on the surface of your eye. Contact lenses require a different prescription than a prescription for eyeglasses, and additional measurements of your eye.
  • Refractive surgery: If you are a good candidate for surgery, your ophthalmologist or optometrist may recommend surgical reshaping of your cornea (clear part in the front of the eye). Your prescription may change over time, so it is important to have regular eye exams and review treatment options based on your changing needs.

Questions to ask your eye doctor about hyperopia:

  1. How does hyperopia affect my vision?
  2. Should I consider contact lenses or eyeglasses?
  3. What happens if I do not treat my hyperopia?
  4. Will my hyperopia worsen with age?
  5. Am I a good candidate for corrective surgery?
  6. Should I get eyeglasses specifically for work on a computer?