Student with astigmatism struggling to read

The new school year is here again! You want to make sure that your child can learn without having to worry about seeing the board or reading material. If your child is complaining about blurred vision or is having difficulty with schoolwork, astigmatism could be a cause.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an eye condition where the cornea or the lens is more “curved”. In other words, the eye is not completely round (like a soccer ball), but slightly oval (like a football). If the cornea is affected it is called corneal astigmatism. If the lens is affected, it is called lenticular astigmatism. Astigmatism can be inherited. Astigmatism can be acquired from an eye disease, eye injury, or surgery.

What does astigmatism do to your vision?

With astigmatism, the cornea and lens are not smooth and evenly curved so the light rays coming into the eye are not refracted evenly and this causes blurred vision. It will cause blurred vision both far away and up close.

Can children have astigmatism?

According to Dr. Taressa G. Haney, a pediatric ophthalmologist who sees patients out of our Blakeney office, “Children of all ages can have astigmatism – even babies. A small amount of astigmatism will not cause blurred vision.” Glasses are needed if astigmatism is out of a “normal” range for your child’s eyes. Many pediatricians have a vision screening device that they will use at your baby’s or toddler’s well visit. This device screens for astigmatism. If an abnormal amount of astigmatism is detected your child will be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam to determine if glasses are needed. A school age child can also be screened on the vision screener, but they can also read the eye chart. If they are unable to read the eye chart, they will be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam which includes checking for astigmatism.

How does astigmatism affect learning?

Blurred vision from astigmatism can affect a child’s performance in school. This may manifest as squinting or headaches during school or homework. If your child is experiencing these symptoms or is struggling in school a complete eye exam is recommended to rule out vision problems including astigmatism.

How do you treat astigmatism in children?

Astigmatism is easily treatable. Glasses can be worn by babies and children to correct astigmatism. Contact lenses are an option for some older children depending on the amount and type of astigmatism. Refractive surgery for astigmatism is not usually performed on children as their eyes are still growing and their glasses prescription continues to change as they grow. This can occur through the teenage years.

Schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam with Dr. Haney and our pediatric eye specialists from Blakeney today and stop by our optical shop for the right pair of glasses! CEENTA’s back-to school sale is here, and glasses are on sale for 35% off one pair and 50% off a second pair through September 24.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our Eye doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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