Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is caused by a refraction problem in the eye. When light hits the eye, the cornea and lens refract, or “bend,” the light rays so that they converge at the retina, the light-sensitive membrane at the back of the eye. In people with perfect vision, the eye is shaped in such a way that the lens and cornea refract entering light rays so that they converge directly on the retina. In people who are farsighted, the shape of the eye (its length from front to back) is shortened, or compacted, causing the lens and cornea to refract the light rays to a point of convergence behind the retina. As a result, only objects that are some distance away appear in focus, while objects that are too close to the eye appear blurred, out of focus.
Like many vision disorders, farsightedness tends to run in families and, in fact, is usually present to some degree at birth. Yet many children and young adults overcome mild farsightedness because their eye muscles are able to adapt to the condition, changing the shape of the lens to focus the point of convergence on the retina. Thus, many young people do not need treatment for their hyperopia. With age, however, the lens hardens and loses its ability to correct the condition, making vision correction necessary.
Signs and Symptoms
- Difficulty focusing on objects at close distances
- Aching eyes
- Recurring headaches
Conventional Medical Treatment
If you have difficulty focusing on objects that are close by, see your optometrist or ophthalmologist, who will conduct a series of eye exams to determine if you are farsighted. These tests can also determine the severity of the condition.
Treatment usually includes prescription eyeglass or contact lenses that are customized for your vision. These lenses refract incoming light at an angle that refocuses the point of convergence on your retina, correcting your vision. A new form of eye surgery called thermo keratoplasty is available for treating farsightedness, but is not widely used.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments
Nutrition and Supplementation
The eyes depend on the rest of the body for nourishment, especially the liver, kidneys, and circulatory system. These work together to eliminate toxins from the blood stream and metabolize necessary nutrients. In general, the best way to get nutrients essential to healthy eyesight is with a vegetarian, low-fat, dairy free diet. Focus on carrots, green leafy vegetables (such as broccoli and spinach), and yellow, green, and orange fruits. Sulfur-rich, foods such as eggs, garlic, and asparagus, increase the amount of Vitamins C and E in the body.
Supplement your diet with the following daily recommendations:
- vitamin E (400 IU)-assists in healing and building the immune system
- vitamin A (25,000 IU; not to exceed 8000 IU if you are pregnant)-an absolute must to healthy eyesight; also aids liver digestion and metabolism; use emulsion form
- vitamin C (2000 mg 3 times daily)-an antioxidant that cleanses toxins from the blood stream
- mixed carotenoid formula (15,000 IU)-a precursor of vitamin A
- vitamin B complex (100 mg twice daily)-for intracellular eye metabolism
- zinc (50 mg, not to exceed a total of 100 mg from all supplements)-a deficiency has been linked to retinal detachment; use lozenge form
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture may be used to improve the tone of the liver and balance the flow of energy in the liver meridian. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes imbalances in this organ are responsible for most eye disorders, including farsightedness.
Acupuncture also may be used to actually change the shape of the eye, which can help improve vision.
Chinese Herbal Therapy Herbs that may help rectify blurry vision are Xiao Yao Wan, and Ming Mu Din Wang Wan.