Refractive Errors in Children

Refractive errors are only a potential cause of blurred vision, so it is important that your child be tested immediately if he experiences these symptoms.

The most common refractive errors in children are: L

  • Myopia (close vision only)
  • Farsightedness (far vision)
  • Astigmatism (distorted vision)

It is possible to have two or more types of refractive error at the same time.

Myopia: The myopic eye is longer than normal, or has a cornea with a curvature that is too steep, so the light rays are focused in front of the retina. Nearby objects are seen more clearly but distant objects are blurred.

Farsightedness: The hypermetropic eye is shorter than normal. The light from nearby objects does not focus clearly on the retina. The words on a page are blurred and it is difficult to see well enough to perform tasks that require close vision, such as threading a needle.

Astigmatism: Astigmatism distorts or blurred vision of objects both near and far. It's almost like looking at a mirror of those we find in the house of laughter, where one looks too tall or too fat or too thin. When you have astigmatism, the cornea (the transparent window in front of the eye) is more curved in one direction than in another - like an American football. A normal cornea is round and smooth, like a basketball. It is possible to have astigmatism combined with myopia or farsightedness.

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