Hyperopia and presbyopia are different eyesight conditions that are extremely common among the population. They share the fact that both hinder a person’s capacity to see nearby objects clearly enough. As a result, the people suffering from one or the other condition may experience difficulties in reading the small print in a document or a book, working on the computer, using the mobile phone comfortably or performing tasks that require good near vision.
What is hyperopia?
Hyperopia is an eyesight condition caused by a refractive error, in which the images are focused behind the retina instead of on it. This leads primarily to blurred vision, when looking at nearby objects. The most common risk factors include a shorter or smaller eyeball than usual and a cornea that is curved too little. As well as difficulties in seeing close up, hyperopia can lead to other disorders, such as strabismus or glaucoma.
What is presbyopia?
Presbyopia is an eyesight condition caused by the natural ageing of the crystalline lens. This eyesight problem occurs sooner or later in everyone, generally at the age of 40-45. This condition, generally known as tired eyes, can also lead to a worsening in distance vision when it arises at the same time as the condition described above: hyperopia. Hence the importance of regular eye and eyesight examinations.
The advantage of the short-sighted in presbyopia
Hyperopia, as indicated, can worsen the symptoms of presbyopia even when it is mild. Myopia, however, can reduce the effects of tired eyes. This happens because the cornea of short-sighted people is more curved and the eye is larger than normal, which means that their focal point is closer to the eye and, therefore, they can focus on nearby objects more easily. This is precisely why many short-sighted people have good near vision, despite suffering from presbyopia.
So what is the difference between hyperopia and presbyopia or tired eyes?
Hyperopia and presbyopia lead to an impairment in the capacity to see nearby objects clearly. However, both conditions have different characteristics, including the cause, age of onset and symptoms.
Presbyopia is caused by the ageing of the crystalline lens, also known as the eye’s natural lens. More specifically, over the years this organ loses part of its natural elasticity and, as a result, is unable to change shape as easily as required to focus. Hyperopia, however, is caused by the fact that the eyeball is too short and the cornea too flat, as indicated above.
The age of onset
Hyperopia can arise at any age. However, it is rather more common in children, given the fact that their eyes are still developing and, in some cases, they have insufficient accommodation capacity to focus on nearby objects. In presbyopia, however, the development stage of the condition occurs during advanced adult age, when cellular ageing notably hinders the elasticity of the crystalline lens.
Presbyopia is primarily characterised by the difficulty to focus on nearby objects. This symptom is shared with hyperopia, but it does not stop there and often occurs with additional symptoms, such as blurred vision, eyestrain, eye fatigue or headaches. Furthermore, hyperopia can lead to other eye conditions, such as ocular deviation, strabismus or glaucoma, which, without suitable treatment, could lead to retinal detachment and, subsequently, blindness.
Is it possible to suffer from presbyopia and hyperopia at the same time?
Yes, both eye conditions can occur at the same time. In general, given that presbyopia often appears in everyone over time, it is often the added problem that worsens the symptoms of pre-existing hyperopia. In these cases, the difficulty in seeing short distances is considerably increased, and a specialist ophthalmological examination is required to give a precise diagnosis and select the best solution possible.
Treatments for hyperopia and presbyopia or tired eyes
The difference between hyperopia and presbyopia in terms of their causes means that there are specific treatments for each one. In the case of the latter, the most frequent are reading glasses, contact lenses and progressive lenses. For hyperopia, glasses or contact lenses are often worn to correct the way in which the light rays enter the eye. However, there are now effective surgical methods for both conditions.
Refractive surgery with intraocular lenses
Refractive surgery with intraocular lenses is a surgical intervention through which a phakic lens is inserted between the cornea and the crystalline lens of the patient. Its benefits include being able to correct both hyperopia and myopia, the fact that it is reversible, because it does not replace any ocular structure, and its suitability for patients for whom laser refractive surgery is not advised. This surgery is also available for presbyopia, although in this case the crystalline lens is removed and is replaced with a pseudophakic intraocular lens that can be multifocal.
Laser refractive surgery
Laser refractive surgery is one of the most advanced alternatives for treating common eyesight problems. At the Miranza clinics, thanks to our technologies and specialists, we have several laser refractive surgery techniques, such as PRK, SMILE and LASIK, the latter being the one used most often, given its excellent results. In the case of hyperopia, LASIK surgery shapes the cornea so that the light rays hit the correct part of the eye. In the case of presbyopia, PresbyLASIK surgery remodels the cornea and creates a multifocal area on its surface.
Can hyperopia and presbyopia be corrected in the same surgery?
Yes, in some specific cases both conditions can be corrected in the same refractive surgery known as multifocal refractive surgery, although this is also possible with multifocal intraocular lens surgery. In any case, not all patients are candidates for this surgery, and an in-depth personalised assessment is essential to ascertain the condition of the patient’s eye and eyesight. An assessment performed at Miranza by the most specialist ophthalmologists.