Hyperopia – Long Sighted Vision

What is Hyperopia?

Hyperopia is the term used to describe someone who is long-sighted.

A long-sighted person can see distant objects easily but struggles to;

  • Read,
  • Look at a computer screen,
  • Or concentrate on fine detail tasks within an arm’s length distance.

Eyeballs that are long-sighted are “shorter” than the average eyeball length.

A shorter than average eyeball length means that when an image passes through it ends up being focused behind the eye.

This means that the lenses within your long-sighted eyes must change shape constantly to pull that image forward, so that it becomes focused on your retinas.

You can imagine that if your eyes are having to do this work all day every day that when you want to sit down and read or fill out some paperwork that the effort required for your lenses and focusing muscles to maintain this near clarity of vision is then multiplied.

Sooner or later those muscles are going to fatigue. You’ll find it hard to concentrate or you’ll find you’re having to re-read things. You may find your eyes are red from not blinking as often, they feel sore and tired, or you just want to close your eyes. Then you’ll start getting headaches regularly from the cumulative effects of these symptoms.

Eye strain related headaches are typically those that occur around your temples and in behind your eyes. Learn more about eye strain here.

A little experiment for long-sighted people

Some things worth trying for yourself;

Sit at your computer screen and while you are there looking at your screen hold both of your arms out straight with your hands and fingers stretched out.

See how long you can maintain this posture before your arms and shoulders start to feel tired.

Now for how many hours a day do you sit in front of a screen? Most of us spend at least five hours a day using a computer &/or digital devices and I bet you went nowhere near five hours without a break when holding up your arms then.

Focusing at a close distance for hours on end is a tiring exercise for the external muscles that control the position of your eyes. 

Case Study – John at Work

I had a 34-year-old fellow by the name of John come to see me recently.

Now John was finding that he can’t get his work done as efficiently as he’d been able to in recent years. John is a solicitor so he reads a lot of printed documents and spends hours on his computer every single day.

John also reported that when he leaves the office at the end of his day that driving home feels much harder and that he can’t see as clearly for distance. He was surprised how much of a difference a reading prescription made to the contrast and clarity of the fine print of his legal documents.

I explained to John that by using his prescription reading glasses for block computer and document reading that he will work more efficiently again as his focusing system is not having to overcompensate and won’t tire quickly.

This also has the follow-on effect. Because John’s focusing muscles are not over-worked, they are able to adjust much faster. They can relax out to see distance objects clearly such as when driving home at the end of the day.

Common Problems for long-sighted people

Long-sighted individuals also tend to progress quickly into requiring glasses full-time as they reach their late 30s to early 40s.

With the natural weakening of the fine muscles attached to your lenses (i.e. as your eyes age) it becomes harder for you to maintain focus.  You may notice your eyes go in and out of focus, and your focusing speed noticeably slows as you switch from a distance to a close object and vice versa.

The natural loss of near focus, known as presbyopia, starts to diminish frustratingly as your reading vision deteriorates.

A lot of long-sighted people absolutely despise this change in their eyesight. Many report it to be unfair, and ask can they get laser to fix it.

Unfortunately laser can’t help you here. But, glasses or contact lenses can!

Your distance and near vision both deteriorate as it is the same focusing muscles that are used to focus distance and near objects clearly onto your retinas.

Case Study: Patricia at Swimming

I have a 60-year-old patient called Patricia who has been a keen swimmer her whole life.

Patricia is quite long-sighted and because of her poor vision, without her glasses she religiously leaves her towel, thongs, and glasses in the same spot every time she swims at the local pool.

I talked to Patricia about contact lenses for swimming but she felt they would be too much of a hassle. I then had the discussion with Pat about prescription swimming goggles and how we could order them for her. We explored the benefits of this service as well.

Pat was thrilled that this was an option available to her. We then went ahead and ordered her a pair of prescription swimming goggles.

Patricia has since popped in and told me just how much of a difference they have made. Now when she gets out of the pool she can navigate her way safely, and she can see the faces of her fellow swimmers clearly.

For more information about hyperopia or how you can improve your vision, book an appointment today.

Adam Maher

Optometrist @ The Eye Place

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Long-sighted, Hyperopia – Long Sighted Vision, The Eye Place
Long-sighted, Hyperopia – Long Sighted Vision, The Eye Place