Vision

Astigmatism

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common vision condition that happens due to refractive errors in the eye, which is similar to myopia (short-sightedness) and hyperopia (long-sightedness). These conditions can cause blurred or distorted vision when at a distance and when near.

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Causes

A normal eye is naturally shaped round like a soccer ball. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped like a rugby ball or it can be due to the curvature of the lens inside the eye. Due to the different curves, the light rays coming through will focus on two points on the retina instead of one. This can result in blurry vision or double vision especially if the astigmatism is severe.

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Most children will have some degree of astigmatism early in life and it may improve or deteriorate as the eyes develop. High amounts of astigmatism, if left undiagnosed, is one of the main causes of amblyopia or lazy eye. Hence, this can result in poor reading and concentration at school. The majority of children have no complaints even when they have high astigmatism. This is not unusual as they accept poor vision as ‘normal’ since they have not seen anything in focus at all since young.

Common signs and symptoms

– Squinting
– Sensitivity to light
– Tilting the head to see better especially at words or letters
– Frequently rubbing eyes, even when not sleepy
– Excessive tearing and watery eyes
– Complaining of headaches or tired eyes

Treatment

If the astigmatism is mild, no treatment will be required at all. Otherwise, corrective lenses i.e. prescription spectacles will mostly be the recommended solution for children

Early diagnosis is the best preventive measure to avoid the development of other eye-related issues such as amblyopia or lazy eye.

It is, therefore, important to start with early and regular eye screening for young children so that you are able to follow up closely on the changes of the eyes and to detect early for any anomalies.

President

The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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