Astigmatism is actually refractive error of the optical system. It features with irregularity in shape or curvature of the cornea of the eye which consequently results in blurred vision. The disease is basically genetic and it may sometimes result from injuries.
The problem results form interruption in the path of the light rays. The disease rarely occurs alone. It is most commonly accompanied by myopia or hypermetropia. Children can develop astigmatism at any age. Still it often occurs right after the birth.
Symptoms of Astigmatism in Children
The leading symptom of astigmatism is blurred vision. This symptom is also followed by distortion of images. Parents usually notice that children turn their heads while focusing on particular object. The children additionally squint more than normally. All of these consequently lead to headaches, irritation of the eyes and sore and tired eyes.
Causes of Astigmatism in Children
Normal shape of the eyes is spherical. The cornea is polished and its curvature is equal in all planes. In case of no abnormalities the light passes through cornea and other parts of the optical system and finally a clear image of the observed object forms on the retina. In case of any structural abnormality of the optical system of the eye the light gets refracted more in one direction and this results in blurry image of the observed object.
Treatment for Astigmatism in Children
The diagnosis can be easily set after ophthalmologic examination. The parents often bring their children to the doctor because they notice certain changes in children's behavior.
In some cases which are mild and there is no accompanying nearsightedness or farsightedness the treatment is not necessary. However, some cases of astigmatism do require corrective lenses. This basically depends on the degree of astigmatism and the presence or absence of additional eye problems. Generally, all the children who suffer from symptoms such as frequent headaches, eyestrain and distorted vision are suitable candidates for the corrective lenses.
The corrective eye lenses are Toric lenses and they contain cylinder. When a patient blinks these lenses rotate. The corrective lenses are prescribed after the doctor performs precise tests. In some children spectacles are better option than lenses. This particularly refers to very small children.
And finally, some types of astigmatism may be corrected by refractive surgery. Surgical correction of astigmatism includes LASIK or Photo-refractive Keratectomy (PRK). Surgical procedures are permanent solution for astigmatism and the definitive cure.
Since, the disease tends to progress over time it is best if the diagnosis is set as early as possible. This way progression of astigmatism may be stopped and it can be successfully brought under control.