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Assisting a Family Member That Has Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

It is quite difficult for elderly people, especially your mother or father, to tell you they are having visual problems. They don’t know how to describe it and most of the time they don’t even realize there has been a change – then their pride and independence is at stake. Dealing with hyperopia (farsightedness) is common as we age, but it doesn’t have to be frustrating.

Hyperopia is One of Three Refractive Errors

Hyperopia or farsightedness is one of the three refractive errors. The other two are myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. Most patients who wear corrective lenses have one of these three eye conditions.

Hyperopia occurs because the eye is too short. In this case instead of light focusing directly on the retina for clear vision it reaches beyond or behind the retina. As a patient, this means you see quite clearly in the distance, but objects in your near vision can be blurry.

How does Hyperopia begin?

We begin life being farsighted but do not have any difficulty seeing close objects. Patients may have the ability to accommodate or change focus from near to far. They see 20/20 as long as they can accommodate.

As we grow, the farsightedness should in theory even out assuming there are no other issues.

When you Should be Concerned

There are some signs that an aging family member’s hyperopia is more extreme. In this case you should bring them to an Ophthalmologist or suggest that they book an exam.

If you notice they are getting frustrated easily, or stop doing some of their normal day to day tasks, it may very well be due to their lack of vision.

Some specific signs there is a visual issue include:

  • Squinting and rubbing eyes
  • Head tilting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Watery eyes
  • Closing one eye to read
  • Avoids tasks like reading the paper
  • Headache or “tired eyes”

When an adult has more extreme hyperopia, they may not be able to change focus and accommodate sufficiently. This can lead to other vision problems, like eyes that are misaligned.

If you have questions about hyperopia or want to make an appointment, contact South Texas Eye Institute.