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.
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.