Long-sightedness

Long-sightedness

What is long-sightedness?

Long-sightedness, also known as ‘hyperopia’, is a condition which makes it difficult to clearly see objects close to the eye. Long-sightedness is a more frequent condition than short-sightedness (myopia).

 

What are the symptoms of long-sightedness?

The symptoms of long-sightedness include:

  • Difficulties focusing the vision, especially on objects close to the eye.

  • Later, it also causes issues with objects far from the eye.

  • You may experience that you squeeze your eyes to focus, which results in headaches and fatigue.

 

What are the causes of long-sightedness?

Long-sightedness is caused by an astigmatism in the eye, which means that the focus of the eye is placed at the back of the retina, rather than its usual place in the front of the retina. This causes blurred visualization of objects placed near the eyes. The condition is caused by the eye being too short in terms of the optical strength.  

When you need to focus your vision, it is important that the light is deflected by the cornea and lens and afterwards collected on the retina, placed at the back of the inside of the eye. The cornea is the transparent membrane that covers the front part of the eye. The retina consists of nerve cells which can detect light and colours and send signals to the brain through the optical nerve. If you suffer from long-sightedness, your cornea and lens will not deflect the light enough for the light to collect on the retina. Instead, it will accumulate behind the retina, causing the light to become blurry.

The eye lens may try to compensate by making the lens contract, but eventually this will cause problems, such as headache and fatigue. This compensatory mechanism by the lens is called ‘accommodation’, and the ability to accommodate is slowly lost with age. Eventually, the need for accommodation exceeds what the lens can handle, which is why glasses are needed in order to correct the long-sightedness.

 

What are the treatments for long-sightedness?

Usually, long-sightedness is treated with glasses or contact lenses that are adjusted to the curvature of the patient’s own lens so that focus is placed on the retina of the eye. There are surgical procedures for long-sightedness, but this is not recommended as they involve the risk of side effects, herein blurred vision, blinding and reduced contrast vision.  

 

Are there any diseases associated with long-sightedness?

People born with the condition have an increased risk of developing a squint. This is because of the eye tiring, when it constantly must accommodate, and thus one eye will slide to the side. Children in this situation will use the eye, which does not slide to the side, while the other eye is repressed, and the child will try to avoid double vision. This condition is treated with an eye patch over the healthy eye.

This will stimulate the defect eye, allowing the vision to develop on both eyes. The vision develops up until you are 6-7 years old. Therefore, it is important that this treatment is carried out early on before the vision is fully developed, after which it is too late to treat.

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