What is hyperopia?

Man with tired eyes after working on the computer

If you struggle to see or focus clearly on nearby objects, and your eyes are often tired, you could be experiencing one of the most common eye conditions, hyperopia or hypermetropia. Also known as long-sightedness, or farsightedness, hyperopia usually starts around puberty, but it can occasionally develop in much younger children. Occurring when your eyeball is shorter than normal or your cornea is incorrectly curved, this refractive error makes close-up tasks like reading or writing difficult. However, looking at distant objects, for instance when you're gazing at road signs while driving, should be no problem.

To learn more about how hyperopia develops and how to treat this specific blurry vision problem with prescription contact lenses, our expert in-house opticians have created a guide, covering the key facts and signs to watch out for.

What causes hyperopia?

The outer layer of your eye, the cornea, and the lens work to focus images directly on the surface of the retina, lining the back of the eye, providing crystal-clear vision. If this light is not focused correctly, objects in close proximity will appear blurry.

There are 3 reasons why this might happen:

  1. The eyeball is shorter than normal, meaning the retina, now closer to the pupil, allows light rays to travel past the retina.
  2. The cornea is flat, and not correctly curved, so the light is not directed onto the retina at the back of your eye.
  3. The lens inside the eye isn't able to focus properly.

Hyperopia has the opposite effect of another refractive error, myopia (short-sightedness or nearsightedness), which results in distant objects appearing blurred. Astigmatism, a condition where your cornea is irregularly shaped or curved, can also be present alongside hyperopia, causing your vision to be blurred at any distance.

Hyperopia is normally genetic and can affect people of all ages, including babies and children. Usually, in younger cases, hyperopia should correct itself, as the eyeball will lengthen over time. Although, a lazy eye (amblyopia) or a squint can develop if not treated, and the weaker eye may not see as well as the other eye down the line.

Symptoms of hyperopia

Hyperopia can affect people in various ways, depending on the extent of the vision problem, but the most common signs of being farsighted include:

  • Blurred vision of objects nearby
  • Eye strain or tired dry eyes after activities like writing, reading or working on the computer
  • Headaches
  • Needing to squint to see close-up objects properly

Children with myopia might not have noticeable symptoms, which is why regular eye tests are so important. It's recommended that you visit an optometrist or eye doctor at least every 2 years for a thorough eye examination to keep track of your prescription and to detect any underlying health issues, eye diseases like glaucoma, and vision problems. If hyperopia is detected early, you've got the best possible chance of treating this eye problem and managing the symptoms.

Hyperopia and contact lenses

Woman applying contact lenses

If you have hyperopia, one of the easiest, most comfortable and cost-effective methods to correct the refraction is with contact lenses. Designed to focus the light correctly on your retina and to match your prescription, contact lenses for hyperopia allow you to enjoy uninterrupted vision and continue with your everyday activities, hassle-free. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for daily disposables, two-weeklies and monthlies.

To find the most suitable option for you, just speak to your optometrist, visit our Eye Care Centre for more information, and contact our friendly customer service team if you have any questions on contact lenses.

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Exclusive to Vision Direct, everclear ELITE contact lenses are outstandingly comfortable, convenient and hygienic, ideal for wearers with refractive errors like hyperopia. These daily disposable lenses, made with advanced silicone hydrogel material, also allow high levels of oxygen to pass through to your eyes, keeping them healthy and irritation-free. Plus, UV blocking adds an extra layer of defence against harmful sun rays.

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Alternative treatments

The corrective method of contact lenses comes with plenty of perks, but alternative treatments can include eyeglasses. Ideal for mild conditions, you can simply wear them when you're reading or doing computer work. More severe cases of refraction can be treated with the permanent solution of refractive surgery or laser eye surgery. Although, these costly refractive surgeries, known as PRK or LASIK and involve changing the shape of your cornea, aren't suitable for young children or teenagers. Another option, which doesn't involve surgery is orthokeratology, where you'll need to wear hard gas permeable contact lenses at night, which will reshape the cornea over a set period of time.

Optician performs eye test on a child

Despite there being no prevention of hyperopia, research has found that it's possible to slow the progression by protecting your eye and vision health. Wearing sunglasses and contact lenses with UV protection along with protective eyewear is essential, as is maintaining a healthy diet and not smoking. Using the right corrective lenses allows you to better your vision and having your eyes regularly checked is also key. Plus, writing and reading with good lighting, and taking breaks from screens to reduce digital eye strain will make a difference.

Hyperopia in children

Mild hyperopia is common for children and babies, and often the eyes will adapt as they grow older. If the case is more severe and left untreated, it can worsen and ultimately affect their quality of life. To ensure your child doesn't have hyperopia or other vision problems, you should take them for an eye exam from around the age of 3 years and then just before they start school. Following this, regular eye tests can be done every 2 years to check in on their overall eye health. Generally, for children, contact lenses or glasses can easily correct hyperopia.

Need more help or advice?

For personalised advice on anything to do with contact lenses and eye health use our live chat, call our friendly customer support team on 020 7768 5000 in the UK or on 1 800 870 0741 in the US or email help@visiondirect.co.uk. They're available 7 days a week 8:00 to 23:59.

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