Hypermetropia (long sight) is a refractive error in which the image of the object is formed behind the retina because the eye ball has a flattened form. In this case the vision is blurred and the objects are not clearly in focus.
Practically, newborns tend to be long-sighted with approximately 3 dioptres. As the child grows up, the eye grows too, the optical focus reaches the retina, and the image becomes clear, both at distance and at near.
Occasionally, for some reason, hypermetropia could be more than 3 dioptres. In these cases, because the lens is having to work so hard in an attempt to bring the light into focus on the retina, patients may get tiring of the eyes, often with a headache and vision discomfort.
How hypermetropia could be suspected
People with hypermetropia are not able to see near objects clearly in focus, but also at distance. The main complaints are ‘tiring’ of the eyes (asthenopia) headaches and blurred vision. There may be difficulties with seeing with both eyes (binocular vision) and depth perception (3-dimensional vision).
If severe long sight (hypermetropia) is present from a very young age, lazy eye (amblyopia) can result.
A visit to the ophthalmologist may detect the problem in a proper time.
Treatment of hypermetropia
In order to compensate the refractive error and thus to prevent eye deviation, optical correction is necessary. It can be done with glasses or contact lenses. In the case amblyopia is already present, a treatment for this condition is recommended along with optical correction.
This treatment implies repetitive courses of exercises with a specific device or by means of the AMBLIONET program for home treatment, available just at Optisan Clinic.
Hypermetropia in a child
Hypermetropia is a refractive error, which occurs because the eyeball is too short, the cornea is too flat (and so bends the light rays less), or the lens cannot become round enough (and so lacks power). Typically, the thickness of the lens is not changed. In hypermetropia, the light from near objects is not quite brought to focus in time to hit the retina. The point of focus would in fact be behind the retina. The lens tries hard to change its thickness (becomes fatter or more rounded) in an attempt to bring the light into focus on the retina – a process called accommodation. However, people with long sight cannot accommodate fully and so the light does not focus on the retina and vision is blurred.
Many babies and very young children tend to be slightly long-sighted but usually grow out of this by about 6 years of age. In case hypermetropia is not gone by the age of 10 years, this may be a problem, requiring adequate correction and therapeutic treatment, aimed at preventing such serious complications as lazy eye (amblyopia) or squint (strabismus).
In order to see better, children with hypermetropia strain their eyes. At first, the eye compensates hypermetropia, but this condition leads to a decrease in the function of the vision brain cortex, to the appearance of some settings, such as spasm of accommodation – the long-lasting spasm of the ocular muscles.
Diagnosis of hypermetropia
Hypermetropia can only be detected during a special exam (when dilating the pupil, the lens relaxes, and the real refraction of the eye can be determined). Therefore, an annual examination by an ophthalmologist is required.
Sometimes the efforts made by the accommodative apparatus of the eye mask a slight degree of hypermetropia. Latent vision deficiencies lead to deterioration of the child’s general condition, because some children do not notice the sight problems for a long time, but may complain on headache and bad mood, becoming irritable or less communicative. A professional examination of the visual system, with subsequent adequate treatment may solve the problem.
There are three degrees of hypermetropia:
Slight – up to +2 diopters
Medium – between +2 and +5 diopters
High – over +5 diopters
Methods of treatment
In order to prevent the development of complications and to accelerate the child’s functional rehabilitation the treatment of hypermetropia should be started as soon as possible.
Children of pre-school age diagnosed with hypermetropia require permanent correction, even in a slight degree of hypermetropia. Children over 7 years of age should wear glasses for reading and in case of a high degree of hypermetropia, should have permanent correction with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
If your child doesn’t want to wear eyeglasses, at the “Optisan” ophthalmologic clinic we will provide you with an alternative method of correction – contact lenses.
Selection of the contact lenses of any complexity is carried out starting with the infant’s age.
Hypermetropia does not just impair vision contributing to the development of amblyopia and strabismus, but has also a major impact on the overall formation of the child’s visual system. That’s why, the earlier you will consult an ophthalmologist and receive a proper treatment the bigger is the chance to prevent complications.