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Optometrist Q & A – What does ‘long-sighted’ mean?


Long sighted means you can see in the distance but you need reading glasses to see up close.

The scientific term for this condition is hypermetropia. Hypermetropic eyes are too short, causing light entering the eye to hit the retina before it comes to a focus.

The ability to focus light exactly onto the retina is unusual. In fact, the average person is a little long-sighted, which is not a problem as the eye compensates by changing the shape of the lens to refocus. However, a significant amount of long-sightedness can lead to blurred vision, particularly for close objects. 
A long-sighted younger person may have clear vision, but may suffer from tired eyes and headaches after a lot of visual work. Reading may be more difficult and schoolwork can be affected. 

In older eyes or eyes with greater amounts of hypermetropia, the focusing system is not strong enough to bring the focus forward onto the retina, resulting in blurred vision at all distances.

Hyperopia or ‘long-sightedness’ is corrected by using spectacle or contact lenses to move the focus of light forwards in the eye until it lies on the retina, resulting in clearer, more comfortable vision.



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