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Farsighted vs. Nearsighted.  

These are a couple of the most confusing terms in all of health and medicine.


Because they have a positive connotation.

They indicate what is good about your vision. Not what's wrong.  

Most medical terms indicate and describe what is wrong.  

That's why it's challenging to remember which is which.  

As you can probably tell by looking at the images above, light focuses into a point at the back of the eye in "normal vision".  When light is focused at the section of the back of the eye called the fovea, you will see things in focus.  

Look again at the images of the "Normal" and the "Hyperopia" eyeballs. 

Notice how the light rays that enter the eyes bend (refract) and converge coming to a point at some distance near the back of the eye.  If they don't bend or converge enough, then they will meet at a point behind the back of the eye (fovea) which is a state called Hyperopia.  


During your eye examination here at Northwest Vision Development Center, our Optometrist will run tests to determine if you have Hyperopia.  This can be done using a test called Retinoscopy (for non-verbal patients or young children) or Subective Refraction for those who can answer the questions: "Which is better: one, or two?"

The causes of Hyperopia/Farsightedness are not always known but are suspected to be mainly genetic.

What we do know is that light tends to focus at a point behind the retina.

But why?

This is usually due to a few possible reasons.  

  • Shorter eyeball (from front to back)

  • Less curvature in the cornea or lens (these two structures contribute to most of the eye's refracting power).


Scientific research has confirmed that certain populations are more prone to Hyperopia and Farsightedness. One study in 2003 noted certain ethnic groups had varying rates of farsightedness as listed below. 

Whites (19.3%)

Hispanics (12.7%)

African Americans (6.4%)

Asians (6.3%)


Low amounts of farsightedness will not often need optical correction, especially with children who can accommodate (adjust the lens in the eye to bend the light rays).  As the amount of farsightedness increases, then ciliary muscles and the lens will have to adjust more and which can often cause intermittent blurriness and eye fatigue.  If this is what is happening, then spectacle or contact lens prescriptions can help relax the focusing mechanism of the eyes and bring objects into better focus.  

The type of lens needed for Hyperopia is a convex lens which is thicker in the middle and thin towards the edge. 

Your prescription numbers will have a plus sign before the "sphere power" field on your prescription (+A.AA).  For more on how to read the numbers to your glasses prescription, click here.

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