What is hypermetropia (long-sightedness)?
An emmetropic eye 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 of the eye, including myopia (short-sightedness) and hypermetropia (long-sightedness).
Long-sighted people cannot see as well up close as they can far away. This is the opposite of myopia (short-sightedness).
In hypermetropia, the eye is shorter than an emmetropic eye, therefore images of close object are focussed behind the retina. This causes long-sightedness.
The more dioptres of refractive error a long-sighted eye has, the more unfocused the images when 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.
When should I go to the ophthalmologist?
As with other refractive errors, it's important to go for regular check-ups with your ophthalmologist to monitor its progression.
It is good to have an annual eye check-up, especially during infancy and for those over 40 years old, due to the normal physiological changes that occur with age.
With children, we must be aware of certain symptoms as long-sightedness can manifest itself at school age.
Common signs and symptoms may be:
- Tired eyes
- Reddening of the eyes
- Blurred vision up close
What treatment currently exists?
Treatment for hypermetropia (long-sightedness) should be adapted based on each case, and even though it cannot be cured, it can be corrected using:
- Glasses or contact lenses
This is the simplest way of correcting long-sightedness.
- Refractive laser eye surgery
The LASIK technique is the most commonly used in long-sighted operation because of its proven safety and efficacy.
- Intraocular lenses
In selected cases, there are other surgical techniques available like a phakic intraocular lens implant (without crystalline lens removal) or removal of the crystalline lens for an intraocular lens implant.
Professionals who treat this pathology
Frequently asked questions
Could I have other vision problems at the same time?
Of course, long-sightedness is very often associated with an astigmatism. Evidently, being long-sighted does not make you exempt from suffering from another type of eye condition.
Is long-sightedness hereditary?
Long-sightedness is generally hereditary. If one parent is long-sighted, then there is an increased risk that the children will be too. The same thing happens with short-sightedness. The risk is even greater if both parents are long-sighted.