It's the last morning of my (BrE) holiday/(AmE) vacation—off to the airport in less than two hours. But Will W just pre-wrote for me most of a blog post, so I'm going to take advantage and get another post up before I land back in work reality.
Here's what Will wrote:
Here's what Will wrote:
Struggling to see the screen, holding my iPad at arm's length, I looked up 'long sighted' on Wikipedia, and it unexpectedly delivered me to 'far-sightedness'.And then he put his findings into a table, with ?? in some boxes. I've taken the ??s out and filled in the terms and meanings he didn't know (and made a few other editing changes for my own happiness). I've also added the OED's date of first citation for each of them, so you can see how they relate to one another
Further consults with Dr Google, ignoring variations in spelling or hyphenation, suggested a national tendency to interpret the phrases metaphorically or literally.
|British English||American English |
|long-sighted||• hyperopic (holds reading matter far away) [1737: not its first meaning]||——|
|far-sighted||anticipates future events correctly ||• anticipates future events correctly |
• hyperopic 
|short-sighted||• lacking foresight |
• myopic (has to hold reading matter close) 
|As it happens, it's the 2nd anniversary |
of me getting these glasses
for my new-found hyperopia
Some things to note about these:
- The more 'figurative' sense of looking into the future precedes the physiological sense in all cases where both exist.
- All of these terms were invented in Britain. If you do hear long-sighted in AmE it will probably be figurative. But it just doesn't turn up much.
- The 'hyperopic' sense of far-sighted might have originated in US, but OED does not provide much info about it, as the entry has not been fully updated since 1895. Their only citation for it is from the Encyclopædia Britannica, which at that point was published in Edinburgh. In 1895, the OED's coverage of Americanisms was not what it is today.
- Will had listed the terms in the table without hyphens. I had to put the hyphens in, because I'm that kind of person. Oxford Dictionaries like the hyphens, Merriam-Webster writes them as one word, no hyphen, e.g. nearsighted.
- Hyperopia seems to be the more common opposite for myopia today, but in the UK (less so in the US) you also find hypermetropia. The two words have been in competition since the mid-1800s.
Will also asked about AmE seeing eye dog. In the UK, these are known as guide dogs for the blind. Guide dog is understandable in AmE as well.