About long-sightedness

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 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 that he rubs his eyes a lot. Young children often don’t realise they have poor vision, so your child might not say he can’t see well.

If your child is older, she might tell you that she can see things in the distance more easily than close things, or she might need to strain her eyes to see close things clearly. She 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 her schoolwork.

Long-sighted children might also have a squint. This is when the eyes seem to be looking in different directions.

Does your child need to see a doctor about long-sightedness?

Yes. If your child has any of the symptoms described above, you should see your GP for a referral to an ophthalmologist. You can also see an optometrist.

Some states and territories run free vision screening programs through preschools or local child and family health services. These programs use special tests to check your child for vision problems at 3-4 years, before he starts school. Check with your child and family health nurse or preschool 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.

Treatment for long-sightedness

Children with less severe 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, she’ll need to use glasses all the time. If your child is older, she might need to use glasses only for close activities like reading or schoolwork.

Contact lenses might be option for older children or teenagers.