Astigmatism in children is a common visual disorder. It is one of the most frequent visual problems during the school stage. Given the significant influence that vision exerts on learning, on academic, sports and personal performance, it is essential to pay attention to the early diagnosis of childhood astigmatism to find an initial solution and not harm the child’s development.
Astigmatism Is Not A Disease
It should be noted that astigmatism is not an eye disease, but a refractive error as is myopia or hyperopia and does not need an eye surgery (ศัลยกรรมตา which is the term in Thai)
In the case of myopia, images are reflected in front of the retina, so that distant objects are not seen clearly. For its part, farsightedness is characterized by just the opposite effect and, therefore, it is near vision that is affected.
For its part, an alteration in the curvature of the cornea (and sometimes also of the lens) causes patients with astigmatism not to see well either up close or far, since the eye of the patient with astigmatism generates several points of focus in front and behind the retina. This completely distorts the normal vision of objects.
In cases of astigmatism, the cornea is too flattened at the poles instead of presenting the characteristic concave shape, which distorts the perception of images at any distance.
Sometimes, astigmatism is associated with other refractive errors. There are different types of astigmatism depending on whether the focus is done similarly as a myopic eye does, in which case we speak of myopic astigmatism, or if the eye focuses like the hyperopic eye so that we will be faced with hyperopic astigmatism. Mixed astigmatism is a mixture of the two previous types.
Also, astigmatism generally has a hereditary component, so to detect astigmatism in children, it is essential to be alert if either or both parents had it or have it. According to statistics, Asian and Hispanic children have a higher prevalence of astigmatism, followed by Caucasians and African Americans.