The Most Common Refractive Errors in Children

childs eye examHas your child been complaining of having blurry vision, or have you noticed him or her squinting? If so your child may be suffering from a refractive error.  A refractive error occurs when there is an error in the way the eye focuses light, which causes blurred vision. They can usually be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology the most common refractive errors in children include…

  • Myopia: A myopic eye is longer than normal or has a cornea that is too steep, so that the light rays focus in front of the retina. Close objects look clear, but distant objects appear blurred.
  • Hyperopia: A hyperopic eye is shorter than normal. Light from close objects cannot focus clearly on the retina. The words on a page will seem blurry, or it will be difficult to see well enough to do close-up tasks, like threading a needle.
  • Astigmatism: Astigmatism distorts or blurs vision for both near and far objects. It’s almost like looking into a fun house mirror in which you appear too tall, too wide or too thin. When you have astigmatism, the cornea (the clear front window of the eye) curves more in one direction than in the other — like a football. A normal cornea is round and smooth, like a basketball. It is possible to have astigmatism in combination with myopia or hyperopia.

If you suspect your child is having any vision problems schedule an appointment with your family ophthalmologist or optometrist immediately.