Hyperopia vs. Presbyopia: What’s the Difference?

Reviewed by: David Schanzlin, MD

Vision Tips & Prevention Vision Tips & Prevention

When you start experiencing blurred vision while looking at a text, or eyestrain and headaches when working closely on a computer, you know something is off.

Recognizing changes in your vision is the first step. The next step is discussing your concerns with an eye doctor. That said, what may help you understand your doctor’s recommendations and advice better is taking an active role in understanding your symptoms.

If you turn to the web to explore near vision problems, terms like Hyperopia (or Farsightedness) and Presbyopia may start popping up. Leaving you wondering what these are and what exactly is the difference between the two? We are diving into the two conditions a little further to know the difference.

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia (pres-bee-ow-pee-uh) is a Greek word that signifies ‘old eye’. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source What Is Presbyopia? American Academy of Ophthalmology Go to Source 1 Glancing in the anatomy of the name; ‘Presby’ means ‘elderly or aged.’, and ‘opia’ means ‘visual disorder.’

Beyond the most obvious symptoms of aging, from white hair to wrinkles, changes in near vision might also crop up. You probably start noticing that it gets harder to see close-up, but you can see things at a distance just fine. These changes in near vision are a normal part of aging, caused by a condition called Presbyopia. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment WebMD Go to Source 2

It may seem that these symptoms occur suddenly, but it takes place over several years. When we are young, our eyes can easily accommodate to help us focus on close objects. But with age, the lens becomes less flexible, making it harder to focus, causing blurry vision.

Presbyopia affects everyone around the age of 40. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia: Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms Healthline Go to Source 3 Due to genetic differences, some may experience it sooner than others, for example, you may need readers at age 41, while your spouse may need them at age 43, and a friend may need them at age 45. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Ophthalmology | Presbyopia | UW Health Go to Source 4

Even if you can see close objects pretty well, the onset of Presbyopia may cause headaches, eye strain, and visual fatigue. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia: What causes it and how to treat it All About Vision Go to Source 5

Common symptoms of Presbyopia include:6,7

  • Harder time to do close work, from sending emails and texts to reading menus in a dim-lit restaurant.
  • Squinting and straining to read recipes, books, and magazines, etc.
  • Eye strain or blurred vision during computer work.
  • Hobbies like writing, sewing, craft, and painting become challenging due to difficulty to focus.
  • Headaches, migraines, and fatigue may frequently occur, as you squint to read or perform tasks that require close focus.
  • You need to hold the newspaper farther away than you used to.
  • You have blurry vision at a reasonable reading distance.

Ok, What About Hyperopia (Farsightedness)?

Hyperopia (hy-per-o-pi-a), is a medical term for Farsightedness. It is a condition in which distance vision is clear, but nearby objects appear blurry. For example, you might read a highway billboard without any problem. But, everyday tasks such as being on a tablet, readers, and smartphones, computer, reading, sewing, etc. may result in blurry vision.8
Hyperopia happens if your eyeball is too short or the cornea is too flat. Due to which the light entering your eye is not focused correctly, resulting in blurry vision.[tooltip title="Farsightedness: Causes of Hyperopia" text="American Academy of Ophthalmology"]9
. Hyperopia is often hereditary; however, some near-vision work may contribute to the development of Hyperopia. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Myopia (Nearsightedness) American Academy of Ophthalmology Go to Source 10

Common symptoms of Farsightedness include: Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Farsightedness - Symptoms and causes Mayo Clinic Go to Source 11

  • You find near objects blurry, such as reading a newspaper or seeing a text or number on a mobile phone.
  • You experience eyestrain and headache after performing close tasks for a more extended time, such as reading or working on a computer.
  • You have trouble seeing the close-up object but can see objects at a distance just fine. For example, you can easily read an eye chart on the wall but may have difficulty reading the text in a book right in front.
  • You squint to see better.

So, What’re The Differences Between Presbyopia & Hyperopia?

We learned that Farsightedness occurs due to misshapen cornea or short eyeball, while Presbyopia occurs as the eye’s muscles become less elastic with age. Farsightedness can affect both children and adults, Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Farsightedness Fact Sheet NIH Go to Source 12 while Presbyopia is an aging condition that happens around 40. It eventually affects everyone, even to people who are farsighted or nearsighted. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia Harvard Health Go to Source 13

If you’re farsighted, your eye doctor may recommend eyeglasses or contact lenses, or some form of refractive surgery (like LASIK). Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Farsightedness - Diagnosis and treatment Mayo Clinic Go to Source 14 If you have Presbyopia, your eye doctor may recommend reading glasses or bifocal or progressive lenses. Multifocal or Monovision contact lenses are other options, in addition to refractive surgery and corneal inlays. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia Treatment American Academy of Ophthalmology Go to Source 15

Quick rewind: although symptoms of Presbyopia and Farsightedness conditions are similar, how they develop and treat are different.

The bottom line On Presbyopia Vs. Hyperopia

There’s just no way to get around Farsightedness or Presbyopia. The good news is that there are very effective solutions to treat both of these conditions! Chat with your eye doctor if you are experiencing problems with your near vision. An optometrist or ophthalmologist will help figure out which one you have and treat your symptoms accordingly. Going to the doctor isn’t most people’s favorite activity, but it is essential for staying healthy. Just as you see your PCP for an annual physical, an eye exam is a necessary part of staying healthy as well.


Trusetd Source Checkbox  Sources


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3 “Presbyopia: Causes, Risk Factors, and Symptoms – Healthline.” 8 Feb. 2016,https://www.healthline.com/health/presbyopiaAccessed 11 May. 2020.
4 “Ophthalmology | Presbyopia | UW Health | Madison, WI.” 30 Dec. 2019, https://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/ophthalmology/5038.html. Accessed 25 Mar. 2020.
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11 “Farsightedness – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic.” 12 Jun. 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/farsightedness/symptoms-causes/syc-20372495. Accessed 25 Mar. 2020.
12 “Farsightedness Fact Sheet – NIH.” https://www.nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/health-pdfs/Farsightedness.pdf. Accessed 25 Mar. 2020.
13 “Presbyopia – Harvard Health.” 30 May. 2017, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/presbyopia-a-to-z. Accessed 25 Mar. 2020.
14 “Farsightedness – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic.” 12 Jun. 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/farsightedness/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20372499. Updated 19 Aug. 2020.
15 “Presbyopia Treatment – American Academy of … – AAO.org.” 13 Jan. 2020, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/presbyopia-treatment. Accessed 25 Mar. 2020.

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