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Hyperopia (long-sightedness)


Hyperopia (commonly called ‘long-sightedness’) is an eye issue that affects almost one-fourth of Australians. If you have hyperopia, you are unable to see objects close to you clearly; however, you can see objects at long distances, which is why it is called long-sightedness..

In order to see clearly, your cornea and lens must be able to focus light (or refract it) onto your retina (Figure 1). When your eye has a length or shape that is not ideal, light is focused too late (i.e. behind the eye, creating a blurry image on your retina), which is hyperopia (Figure 2). Young people with mild to moderate hyperopia are often able to see clearly because their eyes can adjust, or accommodate, to increase the eye's focusing ability. However, at later years the eye gradually loses the ability to accommodate and blurred vision becomes more apparent.

Hyperopia is often present from birth when the eyeball is smaller (i.e. a child's eyeball). A family history of hyperopia, however, can also contribute to its development.

The most common symptoms of hyperopia are eyestrain and headaches following close work. Irritability and nervousness after prolonged concentration may also occur.


In order to treat hyperopia, you must first get diagnosed by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Once you have been diagnosed, how your hyperopia is treated will depend on certain factors, including your age, occupation, and regular activities. Most commonly, hyperopia is treated with glasses or contact lenses that are used to focus light correctly on to the retina (Figures 3, 4 and 5). Some people opt for laser surgery as this means they won’t need glasses or contact lenses; however, laser surgery is only useful for low to moderate cases of hyperopia.