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An emmetropic eye (eye with naturally clear vision) is able to focus images correctly in the retina. If the optics of the eye differ from the emmetropic eye, then we talk about refractive defects or errors, including hypermetropia.
That is the opposite to myopia (short-sightedness). In hypermetropia (long-sightedness), the eye is shorter than an emmetropic eye or the cornea isn't sufficiently curved, therefore images of close objects are focused behind the retina causing blurriness, which increases if the object comes closer. Long-sighted people cannot see as well up close as they can far away. The more dioptres of refractive error a long-sighted eye has, the more unfocused the images are when the person is not wearing glasses.
During infancy until the age of 40-50, the crystalline lens (the eye’s natural lens) may make up for this defect and focus the images in the retina. With age, the crystalline lens loses its ability to focus and the need for glasses increases. This is known as presbyopia or tired eyes. Genetic factors play a very important part. If one parent is long-sighted, then there is an increased risk that the children will be too. The risk is even greater if both parents are long-sighted.
The most common symptoms of hypermetropia are:
As with other refractive errors, it's important to go for regular check-ups with your ophthalmologist to monitor its evolution. It is good to have an annual eye check-up, especially during childhood and over the age of 40, due to the normal physiological changes that occur with age.
▶ Glasses or/and contact lenses. This is the simplest way of correcting hypermetropia.
▶ Corneal laser surgery. LASIK technique is the most commonly used in n hypermetropia procedures for their proven safety and efficacy.
▶ Intraocular lenses. In selected cases, there are other surgical techniques, such as phakic intraocular lens implants (conserving the crystalline lens) or pseudophakic (following crystalline lens or cataract removal).
Almost all wearers of glasses and contact lenses consider reducing their prescription with refractive techniques at some point. In this chapter we explain all the options and help you know when it is worth having surgery, who is a good candidate and why it is so important to choose where to go.