Farsightedness (hyperopia) is most observed during a person’s childhood. In fact, most infants are born farsighted, but only 4% remain farsighted after the age of 1. While a child’s eye develops, it adapts and corrects itself; meaning it is highly possible to outgrow farsightedness. On the other hand, farsightedness can become too severe or complications can make it harder to resolve on its own.
Complications of farsightedness in children
It is a possibility that a child suffers farsightedness in only one eye, or have varying degrees on each eye. In these cases, it would be advised that the child wears glasses, wear contact lenses, or undergo surgery to avoid developing complications.
- Crossed eyes (Strabismus) – this happens when both eyes don’t focus on the same thing, thus, not processing the same image. This can cause confusion about how far or close an object actually is. If not treated, this can cause neglect to one of the person’s eyes.
- Lazy eye (Amblyopia) – this is a condition where one eye overpowers the other. It can be caused by strabismus (crossed eyes) to cancel confusion and just focus on one thing at a time. However, this results in the weakening of the non-dominant eye which can ultimately lead to vision loss if not treated
If any of these are noticed in children, visit an opthalmologist for screening and early detection that can prevent further damage. An example of observation is when conversing with an individual who suffers at least one of the conditions; it can feel as though they’re looking right past you, not really at you when talking.
What can be done?
- Patch – although it can be unpleasant for a kid to look like a pirate, a patch over the dominant eye will help the weaker eye regain power and catch up with the dominant eye.
- Glasses and contact lenses – this can help manage and balance the vision in both eyes. This also prevents only one eye from being dominant.
- Surgery – this might be required if the other interventions don’t work in correcting a child’s vision. It can be used to realign the vision and strengthen the weaker eye’s muscle.
Other lifespan considerations of farsightedness
It is a common misconception that farsightedness (hyperopia) develops and worsens through age. Farsightedness can be genetic or caused by a short eyeball and/or a flatter than normal cornea. On the other hand, “farsightedness” brought upon by old age is a completely different condition called presbyopia. Now, presbyopia is a condition is caused by the loss in the flexibility of our eye’s lens which leads to stiffness that decreases our eyes’ ability to focus, ultimately resulting in blurry vision.
For presbyopia, surgery is not recommended. Factors like the development of cataracts can still impede vision even after surgery. Although, a regular trip to your opthalmologist is highly recommended, especially if your vision is getting worse and your prescription glasses are not enough to compensate for a clear vision.