Introduction 

Long-sightedness, also known as hyperopia, affects a person's ability to see objects close to them.

Vision problems such as long-sightedness are often referred to as refractive errors.

If you are long-sighted, you will usually be able to see distant objects clearly, but nearby objects will be out of focus. Your eyes may also get tired easily.

Read more about the symptoms of long-sightedness.

What causes long-sightedness?

Long-sightedness occurs when the:

  • eyeball is too short
  • cornea is not curved enough
  • lens is not thick enough

The cornea is the transparent layer at the front of the eye, and the lens focuses light on to the retina (the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye).

There are various causes of long-sightedness, including age, genetics and certain underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes (where there is too much glucose in the blood).

Children are sometimes born long-sighted. The problem usually corrects itself as the child's eyes develop. However, it is important for children to have regular eyes tests, because long-sightedness that does not correct itself can lead to other eye-related problems (see below).

Adults can also develop long-sightedness, which often becomes more noticeable after the age of 40. Age-related long-sightedness is known as presbyopia.

Read more about the causes of long-sightedness.

Diagnosing long-sightedness

Refractive errors, such as long-sightedness, are usually identified during early eye examinations.

Your child will have their eyesight checked regularly as part of the routine screening programme. However, you can have their eyes tested at any time if you are concerned about their vision. Find your nearest optician.

In most cases, long-sightedness can be easily corrected; however, if left untreated, it could cause more serious complications that will affect your child's vision permanently (see below).

Eye tests for children are free up until the age of 16 (under 19 for those in full-time education).

Read more about NHS eye care services and diagnosing long-sightedness.

Treating long-sightedness

Long-sightedness is often corrected using either glasses or contact lenses.

Several surgical techniques have also been developed to treat the condition. Laser surgery is sometimes used, although it is not suitable for everyone.

Read more about treating long-sightedness.

Complications of long-sightedness

In adults, complications of long-sightedness are rare. In children, severe hyperopia can cause them to "over-focus", leading to double vision. This, in turn, can lead to two possible eye-related conditions, which are:

Read more about the complications of long-sightedness.




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Look after your eyes

Why regular eye tests are important and how a healthy lifestyle can help you maintain good vision

Page last reviewed: 09/07/2014

Next review due: 09/07/2016