Astigmatism in Children
Astigmatism, the uneven curvature of the cornea that causes blurred vision, is one of the most common vision problems in the world and, unfortunately, children aren’t immune from the disorder. Nearly 20 percent of children from birth are affected by astigmatism.
Diagnosing the disorder in children is not easy, particularly in this under 2, primarily because it is difficult for young children to accurately describe what they are experiencing with their sight. Another obstacle for effective diagnosis is a child of that age may be unsure of unimpeded sight.
With that in mind, most children are diagnosed with astigmatism in their school years. This usually occurs after an annual vision test where the first signs of an eye problem are noticed. A follow up exam with an eye care professional will help determine if the problem is an astigmatism or another type of disorder.
Addressing an astigmatism in a child – especially while they are in school – is crucial. In addition to the health problems, like headaches from squinting to read books, see chalkboards or computer screens, the potential learning problems due to frustration caused by an inability to see clearly need to be dealt with quickly.
Astigmatism is usually treated effectively in children with eyeglasses. A visit to an eye care professional will determine what eyeglass lens prescription works best for a child and many manufacturers offer a variety of durable glasses for active children. The responsibilities of correct care for contact lenses are a little too complex for children until later in life. In severe astigmatism cases, surgery might be the best option for optimum correction.
For children who suffer from severe astigmatism, surgical intervention may be a viable option, but it’s essential to keep the entire process upbeat to keep child confidence high in light of what they might experience. Obviously, informed discussions with an eye care professional and surgeon are a must before surgery is considered.
For children with an astigmatism, regular examinations by an eye care professional should happen with the regularity of their annual visit to the family physician. It remains the best way to evaluate the best corrective treatment options and stay informed of any changes in your child’s vision.