Hypermetropia is a condition of the eye wherein distant objects appear to be clearer than those that are in close distance. Also medically referred to as hyperopia, farsightedness or long-sightedness, it is said that as much as 25% of the population suffer from the condition.
The inability of the affected eyes to see near objects sharply is brought about by the fact that parallel light rays tend to meet behind the retina (a layer of light-sensitive cells found at the back of the eyeball) rather than on it. This is the reason why close objects are blurred and distant ones are sharp.
Failure of parallel lines to properly meet on the retina may be brought about by a couple of factors. First, the cornea (the transparent opening of the eye) may not be curved enough to focus parallel light rays on the retina. Second, it may be because the eyes are too short front to back.
Experts say that hypermetropia is partially hereditary. Proof to this is the fact that a lot of children are born with some level of farsightedness but strong muscles in the eyes are able to offset the problem. The said muscles are able to stretch or compress the cornea as necessary, fine tuning those parallel light rays and allowing them to properly focus on the retina. Close vision among some children born with the eye condition tend to get sharper as they grow older.
Symptoms of Hypermetropia
The primary symptom of hypermetropia is the inability to perceive close objects sharply. Headaches and eyestrain are also common symptoms among individuals who are suffering from this eye condition.
Hypermetropia among children usually goes overlooked. This is perhaps because children suffering from it are unaware that it is very much possible to see near objects clearly. Because they tend to strain their eyes unconsciously in an attempt to perceive close objects better, many young hypermetropia sufferers tend to have headaches on a regular basis.
Sadly, the Snellen chart (a poster consisting of rows of letters that get smaller and smaller) commonly found in the office of eye specialists such as optometrists and ophthalmologists cannot detect hypermetropia. What this chart is good at is detecting nearsightedness or myopia — the complete opposite of hypermetropia wherein objects far away from the eyes appear blurry.
The proper way to diagnose hypermetropia is with the use of a device referred to as refractor or photopter. While the individual being checked is seated, the device is placed at eye level and several lenses are slipped in and out as the person is looking at a chart or poster at a wall. This test is able to detect both hypermetropia and myopia.
Hypermetropia Treatment Options
This eye condition is definitely treatable. Sufferers of hypermetropia have 3 options: eyeglasses, contact lenses and surgery with the use of laser.
Eyeglasses are very helpful for people who are afflicted not only with hypermetropia, but also myopia. In fact, those having problems with both long range and close range vision can benefit tremendously from eyeglasses, in particular the kinds which use bifocal lenses.
Contact lenses are ideal for individuals who don’t want to opt for eyeglasses. However, contact lenses designed to correct severe vision problems tend to be thicker and heavier than counterparts meant to correct milder cases of hypermetropia, thus making them somewhat uncomfortable to wear.
Laser eye surgery can be used to treat hypermetropia and other problems such as astigmatism and nearsightedness. Surgery with the use of laser helps deal with these various vision problems by giving the cornea the right shape it needs to focus light more properly on the retina.
It’s not possible for anyone to prevent hypermetropia. The good news is there are many ways to keep the eyes healthy and the vision sharp.
Having regular trips to the office of an eye specialist is important. This should be done not only when there are problems concerning the eyes but also when none of them are present.
Smoking should be avoided and the eyes should be shielded from the sun’s harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses designed to block UV radiation.
Having a healthy diet is very important. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, yams, squash, sweet bell peppers, oranges and cantaloupes should be eaten on a regular basis. The same is true with dark green leafy vegetables. All of these foods are packed with beta carotene that is converted by the body to vitamin A, a nutrient good for the eyes.