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Hyperopia and Your Child

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Does your child avoid reading?  When they do read, do they complain that their head hurts or their eyes are sore?  Does that happen when they write or work on a computer?  They may have hyperopia, also known as farsightedness.

Undiagnosed hyperopia can significantly harm a child’s school performance and generally reduce their quality of life.

How can you help your child is they have this vision problem?  Our office offers solutions to hyperopia and reading related problems.  We, at Old Bridge eye doctors have many years of experience treating hyperopia and share some of their many insights below. Take a look!

What Is Hyperopia and What Causes It?

Hyperopia (farsightedness) is a common condition that affects people of all ages.  A low amount of hyperopia is acceptable, but higher hyperopia, or a large difference between the two rmeays can lead to serious problems, including amblyopia.

In an otherwise healthy eye, light and other visual information enters through the lens and pupil, and is focused on the back of the eye, the retina.

When someone has hyperopia, light focus behind the retina. Things at dIstance look clear, but objects at near are not.  School vision screenings measure how someone sees at distance, but typically do not test how a child sees at near, where they read.  A child assumes that everyone sees the way they do, and that us why they don't complain about things appearing blurry.

Since objects at a distnace are clear, a child will pass a school vision screening or at the pediatrician's office.  But most reading and learning is done at near, not at distance.  The point is that a distance vision screening will not give you information about how a child is seeing at near.  They may pass the school vision screening and yet have a huge problem that affects learning.  Pediatricians do not check for this either.  They, and pediatric ophthalmologists are experts in disease, but not experts in vision. 

A school vision screening may give a parent or a child, a false sense that everything is OK, when actually there is a serious problem that can affect reading and learning.  

Hyperopia occurs when the curvature of the cornea does not match to the length of the eye.  Hyperopia can be genetic (inherited), but it can also be associated with issues of  development before birth and in early childhood.

Symptoms of Hyperopia in Children

Often.there are no symptoms and hyperopia goes undetected in children.  When very young, children are able to.physically focus even large amounts, but the extra physical energy that is needed, takes away from the ability to understand what was just read.  At times it can bring on headaches, and then a child "learns" to avoid reading and other near point work.

Hyperopia can cause eye strain, fatigue, and headaches after reading, writing or using a computer.

A child with a large amount of hyperopia in both eyes or a larger amount in one eye than the other, may develop amblyopia, otherwise known as lazy eye.  Lazy eye.(amblyopia) is different than an eye that turns in or out.  That is called strabismus. 

Signs and symptoms that may signal your child is farsighted include:

  • Viewing books, mobile phones, computer screens or tablets by holding them at arm’s length, a farther distan e, rather than normal reading distance. 
  • Difficulties reading, learning, or paying attention at school or during extracurricular activities.
  • Squinting.
  • Headaches or fatigue after reading, writing, or computer use.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hyperopia

A thorough eye examinatiin by a behavioral or developmental optometrist can diagnose hyperopia early, and prevent issues with learning and other problems that can severely harm your child’s quality of life.

We are experts in thus area and can best help your child by first determining if your child is farsightedness.  We use tests and instruments, and can determine if your child is hyperopic, even if they are unable to respond to the tests adults re accustomed to.  We will then discuss the various option we have to solve the problem, so your child has the best vision to succeed in school and with reading.  There are many options for how best to accomplish this. The most common ones are:

1. Eyeglasses

Glasses are the most common treatment for hyperopia in children.  The amount of hyperopia will determine how often and how long they need to wear their glasses each day. Those with more severe hyperopia will need to wear their glasses full time, while those with less hyperopia may need glasses only when reading, writing, or doing other types of near work.

2. Bifocal/Multifocal Glasses

You might think thay bifocal eyeglasses are only for adults over forty, but they are also prescribed for children who have difficulties with visual focusing due to severe hyperopia.

3. Contact Lenses

We often think of Contact Lenses for adults or for older children, but contact lenses, and at times, multifocal contact lenses, are prescribed for children to be able to see at all distances.  They also have the advantage of having a wider field of view than glasses.

To learn more about hyperopia and how we can help your child, contact our Old Bridge eye doctors at Family Eye Care today.

Q&A With Our Optometrist

Are hyperopia and presbyopia the same?

No. Though they both make it difficult to see objects at near, they are two distinct entities.  Hyperopia occurs as a result of the cornea being too curved relative to the eye's length.

Presbyopia is different, and occurs when we have lost enough lens focusing ability.  This difficult to focus at near after age 40 or so.  

What kinds of lenses help treat hyperopia?

In order to have light focus properly on the retina, we prescribe special lenses.  These eyeglasses can be made in;

  • Regular plastic lenses.
  • Special polycarbonate lenses that are thinner, lighter, and safer.
  • High index aspheric lenses, which are thinner and lighter than traditional lenses.  They also reduce the “bug-eyed” look that can sometimes be caused by higher prescriptions.