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Hyperopia – 13.5 Billion Light-Years Away is Serious Farsightedness

July 29, 2022
Hyperopia – 13.5 Billion Light-Years Away is Serious Farsightedness

In the last month, NASA dropped the first astonishing images of deep space from its new James Webb Space Telescope. Remarkable, mind-blowing, dazzling full-color images of stars being born, clusters of galaxies expanding, and gaseous blooms carved by stellar winds. And all this glittering majesty was photographed 13.5 billion light-years away from Earth!

According to NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope will be able to see what the universe looked like around a quarter of a billion years (possibly back to 100 million years) after the Big Bang, when the first stars and galaxies started to form. Farsightedness in this case will help scientists understand exactly where we are today and how we got here. Farsightedness in people doesn’t convey exactly the same kind of useful information.

Farsightedness, or Hyperopia, is a common vision condition by which people can see distant objects clearly, but objects close-up tend to be blurry. Farsightedness is generally present at birth, tends to run in families, and is easily corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses.


It’s a bit ironic that the farther away the James Webb Space Telescope sees, the further back in history it’s actually looking. You’d almost think seeing farther away would be seeing the future, but you’d have to take that up with Albert Einstein.

When a person’s eyes focus light, they send an image of what is being seen to your brain, which then interprets that image for you. When a person is farsighted, they eyes are not focusing light the way they should, thus the brain is perceiving a blurry image. 

Children who have mild to moderate farsightedness tend to see both close and far away without glasses because the muscles and lenses in their eyes that focus the light work much better at adjusting and compensation to overcome the weaknesses in their cornea and lens to see more clearly, even at a distance.

NASA’s space telescopes work on almost the same principle, by building bigger, stronger lens and mirrors, telescopes can gather considerably more distant and faint light allowing us to see so far away.

Testing and Treatment

Testing for farsightedness is as simple as an eye exam at your eye doctor, which is recommended every few years. As one of the more common vision conditions, treatment is also very straightforward. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and even LASIK surgery are all very effective treatments for farsightedness.


Go the Distance at Berlin Optical Expressions


Photo credit:  NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI