What is farsightedness?
Farsightedness is a common vision problem where you can see FAR objects clearly while near objects are blurry and unclear.
What are the symptoms of farsightedness?
- Near objects appear blurry
- Reading becomes difficult.
- Squint to see better.
- Headache especially after reading, writing, or screen related chores.
What causes farsightedness?
The optimum shape of the eye globe and the optimum curvature of the cornea allows the reflected light to fall directly on the retina (that resembles the negative film of the camera), creating a perfect image that is then transferred to the brain through the optic nerve.
Any change in the curvature of the cornea, the shape of the eye globe, the focal power of the lens may alter where the reflected light falls thus creating a blurred image that is interpreted in the brain as a faulty unclear image!
In case of farsightedness, the eye globe is either very small in size, or has a flat cornea, this causes the image to fall behind the retina! So, when the object is far, its image falls on the retina and you can see it clearly, but if the object is near, its image falls behind the retina so it appears blurry and unclear!
Does farsightedness have any complications?
Some people believe that farsightedness is not a serious problem, but unfortunately this is no true. If you leave farsightedness untreated especially if you suffered it at younger age may cause many serious complications, including:
- Squint: AKA crossed eyes, if an infant or child has farsightedness in one or both of his eyes and his parents didn’t notice it in time, the case may progress into squint. Squint is where both eyes don’t align together while looking at the same subject. It is not aesthetically plausible and neglecting may lead to vision loss in the affected eye.
- Altered quality of life: if your work or lifestyle depends on reading, writing, long screen hours, then farsightedness is your daytime nightmare! Many of your daily tasks will be affected and your daily routine will be impaired and limited.
- Eyestrain: your continuous attempt to focus on reading and writing will cause you frequent eyestrain and headaches.
- Less safety: you are putting your life and your beloved ones’ lives in jeopardy if you leave your eye vision uncorrected. Especially if you work in operating heavy machinery.
Now that you know farsightedness is a serious problem. How can you know if you have it or not?
How do diagnose farsightedness?
At first you may suffer a few symptoms like the ones we mentioned earlier.
Then you book an appointment with an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) who will check your general health status. Your outer physical appearance like if you have visible squint, exophthalmos (protruded eyes), ptosis (sagging eyelids), excessive tearing or anything else.
Then your doctor will perform any of the following examinations:
- Refractive error assessment: this is a simple test to detect if you have any vision problems (farsightedness, nearsightedness, presbyopia or astigmatism). He/she uses several lenses to find out how accurate your vision is.
- Slit-lamp examination: it is also a simple test to detect if there is any underlying problem in your cornea, anterior chamber or intra-ocular lens.
- Fundal examination: this examination requires applying few eyes drops to dilate the pupils so your doctor can check your retina.
How is farsightedness treated?
The main goal here is let the image fall directly on the retina, since we can’t change the size or shape of the eye globe, we then aim at correcting the refractive error by using corrective lenses or resorting to refractive eye surgery.
- Corrective lenses: when you are still young, your intraocular lens is young too and flexible enough to compensate for the error and try to focus the image on the retina. But as you grow older, and depending on the degree of the error, the lens can no longer compensate for this error. So, by time, you start complaining more about not being able to see clearly and your doctor will prescribe corrective lenses.
According to your degree of farsightedness (after the basic eye examinations) your doctor will tell you a positive number that indicates how good your vision is. The lower the number, the better the farsightedness.
You can choose to wear your prescribed lenses in eyeglasses form or contact lenses. Each has its pros and cons.
- Eyeglasses: it is easy to wear, easy to buy, easy to change, affordable, doesn’t cause allergy or pink eye, can buy it in all colors and styles. But you could easily lose it, it could break and you can’t wear it all the time like during the shower or when you are swimming.
- Contact lenses: this is the best option if you want to correct the problem and forget about it for a while. You can wear it 24/7! But if you don’t change it frequent enough it may cause you pink eyes.
- Laser -assisted Refractive surgery:
Corrective lenses may seem like an easy solution but they only overcome the error they don’t treat it! Only refractive surgery can help correct the error once and for all.
Although it is more common to treat nearsightedness than farsightedness but some patients still resort to refractive eye surgery to treat it.
The goal in this surgery is to enhance and reshape the curvature of the cornea to help it focus the image on the retina directly.
Refractive surgeries include:
Farsightedness is a common vision problem, where you can see far objects clearly but not near ones, making reading and other daily routines difficult. If it is affecting your daily routine or causing you headaches then book an appointment with your eye doctor to diagnose it and discuss your best treatment option. These options include corrective lenses or corrective refractive surgeries.