If you’re long-sighted, nearby objects look blurry. For some long-sighted people, objects in the distance look blurry too.
Long-sightedness is one of the most common eyesight problems in children.
Often, children’s long-sightedness improves over time. This can mean that some children are less long-sighted in the pre-teen and early teenage years than they were in early childhood.
Long-sightedness is also called hypermetropia or hyperopia.
Causes of long-sightedness
Long-sightedness happens when light entering the eye focuses behind the retina instead of on the retina. This might be because the eye doesn’t have enough power to focus properly or because the eyeball is shorter than usual.
Symptoms of long-sightedness
Depending on how old your child is, the symptoms of long-sightedness can vary.
If your child is younger, you might notice that your child squints or blinks when looking at close things, or your child rubs their eyes a lot. Young children often don’t realise they have poor vision, so your child might not say they can’t see well.
If your child is older, they might tell you that they can see things in the distance more easily than close things, or they might need to strain their eyes to see close things clearly. Your child might also complain of sore eyes, headache or fatigue.
Also, your child might not be interested in reading because of the eye strain it causes, and you might notice issues with their schoolwork.
Long-sighted children might also have a squint. This is when the eyes seem to be looking in different directions.
Regular eye examinations: why they’re important
Regular eye examinations are the best way to detect conditions like long-sightedness and other vision problems.
It’s recommended that all children have eye tests:
- before they start preschool, when they’re 3-3½ years old
- in their first year of school.
Some states and territories run free vision screening programs through preschools, schools or child and family health services. Check with your child and family health nurse, preschool or school to see what’s offered in your state or territory.
If a screening test picks up a problem with your child’s vision, the people running the screening program will let you know what to do next.
Does your child need to see a health professional about long-sightedness?
Yes. If you think your child is long-sighted, see an eye specialist like an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. You’ll need to get a referral from your GP or optometrist to see an ophthalmologist.
Treatment for long-sightedness
Children with mild long-sightedness might not need treatment because their eyes will naturally adjust to see clearly.
Children with more severe long-sightedness might need glasses. If your child is younger or also has a squint, they’ll need to use glasses all the time. If your child is older, they might need to use glasses only for close activities like reading or schoolwork.
Contact lenses might be an option for older children or teenagers.