Vision correction for children

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What is vision correction for children?

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Everything you need to know about children’s vision correction

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Refractive errors are present in almost 20% of children.

If a child has refractive errors, the eye does not focus light on the retina and so the vision will be out of focus and blurred.

The most common refractive error seen in children is short-sightedness. Here the child can see close up but has problems with seeing things far away.

The next common problem is farsightedness. This is where the child can’t see things close to them but can see things far away. The majority of children have a small degree of this until they are seven years of age.

Astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea is oval rather than round, so the corneal curvature is abnormal, resulting in decreased vision.

Astigmatism can start in childhood or as an adult and can be easily corrected if it is causing problems.

Symptoms

Children with astigmatism or hyperopia often complain of headaches, eye strain, difficulty reading and fatigue.

Children with myopia have no symptoms apart from reduced distance vision.

Most cases of poor eyesight in children can be corrected optically with glasses or contact lenses. Other advanced options are available for children, such as laser or lens implantation.

Laser vision correction

In very rare cases, laser vision correction can be considered. This is usually a therapeutic surgery more than it is a refractive option. The risks and benefits of refractive surgery will be discussed at the consultation.

Occasionally we have patients who come to us with poor eyesight due to something abnormal with their cornea (the front window of the eye) such as scarring or an opacity that stops light from entering the eye.

The treatment in this case would involve optimising the vision as much as possible. Sometimes we may have to perform surgery, such as laser surgery or partial thickness cornea transplantation to improve the clarity of the cornea.

If a refractive error is left untreated, it can result in amblyopia (lazy eye). This occurs in one eye due to not receiving proper visual stimulation and results in decreased vision.

If the refractive error is treated before the child is 7-8 years old, then amblyopia is preventable.