Long-sightedness – hyperopia2020-12-10T10:07:08+00:00

Long-sightedness – Hyperopia

Blurry vision, especially for close objects leading to headaches, eyestrain, and squinting

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What is long-sightedness?

Long-sightedness is a result of your eye being abnormally short

Who gets long-sightedness?

Long-sightedness is a common eye problem affecting over 25% of both children and adults2. Older adults (50+) notice their long-sightedness more when they lose accommodation


If you have long-sightedness, your glasses prescription will have a unit of sphere (often noted as S or SPH) that is typically expressed as a positive number (a “plus” sign, or +). This indicates the degree of long-sightedness you have, expressing how much you experience blurry and distorted vision. In general, the further away from zero the number on your prescription, the worse your eyesight and the more vision correction you need.


Uncorrected, your long-sightedness can be bothersome. Fortunately, glasses and contact lenses can correct long-sightedness. Unfortunately, you may dislike the way your glasses look or feel, and you may be worried about the high risk of contact lens infection after prolonged use.


In glasses, rain can be a struggle. Your glasses may fog up, get loose and fall down your nose. Needing to constantly clean them is a regular hassle. Falling asleep in them can cause them to break. Not being able to wear sunglasses can be a real bother. When it comes to contact lenses, they can cause dryness, computer vision syndrome, serious eye infections, and grittiness and irritation if you wear them for too long.


You might have heard people say you look better without glasses or even tell you that you should get contact lenses. You might feel they detract from or hide your facial features. They might make your eyes look unnaturally large.


Help is at hand! With modern laser eye surgery and lens replacement, we’ve been able to treat all sorts of eye problems, including long-sightedness, for decades. Futhermore, we have excellent results proving its safety and effectiveness.

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Vision correction enables you to experience a richer life without spectacles or contacts

Take one of the first steps and find out if you are suitable

Supplementary information about long-sightedness (hyperopia)

In my expert hands, you certainly don’t need to know all of the information I’ve included in the toggles below. If you’d like to know how it all works, however, open them and learn more.

Hyperopia or long-sightedness is an eye condition where the focusing power of the eye is too weak and cannot focus properly.

If you are long-sighted, you may find that nearby objects appear fuzzy and out of focus, but distant objects are clear.

For that reason, if you have long-sightedness, you need to wear positive power contact lenses or prescription glasses to increase the focusing power of the eye and bring the image of the world into focus on our retina.

Another way of thinking about long-sightedness is that your eye is like a camera where the focus is stuck in the very far distance. This condition means that objects need to be very far away for them to be in focus. Anything closer than the distant horizon is out of focus.

Long-sighted patients have blurred vision because the focusing power of their eye is not strong enough to focus light on the retina. As they try to look at closer objects, they need more focus, but the object gets more blurred.

Eyestrain, squinting and headaches all occur when the eye tries to compensate. It does this by putting extra strain on its muscle focusing mechanism.

This excessive strain can give rise to these symptoms. These become even more problematic for long-sighted patients from age 40 onwards when the onset of presbyopia begins.

Long-sightedness occurs because of a combination of genetic factors and a mismatch between the power of the cornea and the length of the eye. Long-sighted patients typically have shorter than average eyes.

Essential components of an examination include:

  • Refraction (spectacle test)
  • An assessment of the alignment of the eyes to detect squinting.

The next and most critical part of the assessment is called cycloplegic refraction. This is where I relax the focusing muscle of your eye using an eyedrop.

I can then measure the true focusing power of the eye in the absence of the patient’s attempt to compensate. I also perform a full ocular examination and a dilated fundus examination to assess retina health.

Most infants are slightly long-sighted when born. As the eye grows, the degree of long-sightedness reduces. Most infants become normal sighted (or emmetropic) by school age.

Eye growth is a continuous process starting from birth and ceasing in most people between age 18 and 21. You can tell that your eye growth is complete when there is no change in your glasses prescription over a 12 month period.

Once the eye has finished growing, the amount of hyperopia is stable, so the glasses prescription rarely changes after that. In most patients, this occurs after age 18 to 21. It is for this reason that laser eye surgeons do not treat patients under 18. They usually treat those 21 years of age or older.

You can correct long-sightedness using:

  • glasses and contact lenses
  • laser eye surgery
  • implantable contact lenses (ICL).

In older patients, lens replacement or refractive lens exchange and multifocal lens implants may be the treatment of choice, especially after 50 years of age.

Long-sightedness, short-sightedness and astigmatism are all types of eye focus problems. These are the reasons you need to wear glasses to correct the focus of the eye and allow you to see clearly.

Long-sightedness, or hyperopia, is an eye condition where the focusing power of the eye is too weak. For that reason, you need to wear positive power lenses to increase the focusing power of your eye.

Patients with long-sightedness can sometimes see objects in the far distance but cannot see anything closer.

Younger patients with long-sightedness can compensate for years by using the eye’s focusing mechanism to boost the power of the eye. Doing so brings the world into focus, but this ability fades. Eventually, it is necessary for them to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Other patients have such high levels of long-sightedness that they cannot compensate and need glasses from a young age. Long-sighted patients have inferior close up vision. They typically struggle to read or see computers screens without glasses.


Eyestrain, squinting and headaches are common problems for long-sighted patients. This is especially true for those age 40 onwards when the onset of age-related vision loss begins.

Optometrists and opticians typically identify long-sightedness at one of two stages of life:

  • Primary school, due to misalignment of the eyes (squint) or difficulty reading.
  • 40s and 50s, due to the loss of the ability to compensate. These patients become dependent on reading glasses at a young age and eventually need distance glasses.

Take the first step

Find out if your eyes are suitable for vision correction

Book a free screening now or get us to give you a call back to answer questions

Even more information about long-sightedness (hyperopia)

I frequently write articles and publish videos to answer people’s most common questions and keep them updated on the latest developments in vision correction. Find out more below…

Can I get laser eye surgery?

If you dislike your glasses and contact lenses, you might be wondering "can I get laser eye surgery?" To find out whether you may qualify for this life-changing procedure, read on.

A clear look into the types of laser eye surgery in London

All laser eye surgery has the same general idea - a surgeon uses a laser to reshape your cornea, improving your vision. There are multiple ways a surgeon can do this, though. You need to know if you’re getting the right type of surgery. Take a look at these top types of laser eye surgery in London.

Compare long-sightedness with other relevant eye conditions

Eye conditions are frequently misunderstood, so here’s a quick overview of the ones I most commonly treat


Astigmatism is an imperfection in the shape of your eye’s cornea or lens. Usually, the cornea and lens are round or spherical like a football. In eyes that have astigmatism, the cornea and or lens of the eye are oval in shape like an egg. As a result, light rays focus on a blurred oval shape on the retina rather than as a single sharp image. Learn more about astigmatism

Treatments for astigmatism


Short-sightedness is also known as Myopia.

Short-sightedness (or myopia) is an eye condition where the focusing power of the eye is too strong. For that reason, if you’re short-sighted, you need to wear negative power lenses to reduce the focusing power of the eye. Doing so brings the image of the world into focus on our retina. Learn more about short-sightedness

Treatments for short-sightedness


The term “dry eye” covers many different eye conditions where an imbalance in the volume or quality of the tears results in inflammation and damage to the surface of the eye. Patients have varying degrees of dry eye symptoms from occasional discomfort and stinging to severe pain and inability to see. Learn more about dry eye…


Presbyopia is the eye condition which causes people aged 45 and older to need reading glasses. The ageing of the eye’s natural lens which stiffens and loses its ability to focus causes presbyopia.

Treatments for presbyopia

Presbyopia is the eye condition which causes people aged 45 and older to need reading glasses. The ageing of the eye’s natural lens which stiffens and loses its ability to focus causes presbyopia.

Treatments for presbyopia


Cataract is the term we use to describe the changes that occur when the lens of the eye loses its transparency and changes from appearing like a crystal clear window to appearing like a misted window like frosted glass. Learn more about cataract

Treatments for cataract


Keratoconus is a condition where the cornea, the front window of the eye, becomes thinner, loses its strength and begins to warp out of shape progressively. Learn more about keratoconus

Treatments for keratoconus


Recurrent corneal erosion is a painful eye condition where there are episodes of severe pain on waking which resolve over a few days to a week only to reoccur again in the future. Learn more about recurrent corneal erosion

Treatments for recurrent corneal erosion

  • Laser Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK)

About the author

Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef

I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.

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