Children are exposed to screens and technology at an incredibly young age. This has introduced strain on the eyes at a time when they are at a crucial stage of development. Because of this “new world,” our pediatric eye doctor recommends that your children have their first ophthalmologist check-up around the age of 3.
One of the conditions doctors are looking to identify is a refractive error. The WHO estimates that 153 million people worldwide live with visual impairment due to uncorrected refractive errors.
What is a refractive error? There are many specific types of refractive errors that differ in their symptoms and treatments.
This article will break down refractive errors, prevention, symptoms, warning signs, and treatment options available for your child.
What is a refractive error?
Refraction, related to vision, refers to the bending of light rays as they pass through the cornea and the lens. This allows vision to happen. The retina then changes these light rays into messages that the brain can interpret into the images that we see.
Refractive error occurs when the eyeball’s irregular shape (shorter or longer) prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. The length of the eyeball is so crucial because it consequently changes the shape of the cornea.
The WHO explains that this condition results in blurred vision, manifesting in a serious visual impairment. Therefore, if you suspect that your child is suffering from blurred vision, do not hesitate to contact a pediatric eye doctor.
How Can You Prevent Refractive Errors in Children?
In young children, there is no way to prevent a refractive error. Older children exposed to frequent screen exposure may be subject to eye strain, and if they already have a refractive error, it can make it worse. It is advised that an ophthalmologist regularly evaluates them for proper corrective lenses to minimize stress on their eyes.
What are the Symptoms or Warning Signs of a Refractive Error?
It can be difficult for young children to express to us when something is wrong, so a regular evaluation by an eye doctor is so important. However, there may be some symptoms you can look for in your child. The following is a list of some common symptoms or warning signs of refractive errors:
Stating they see a “halo” or “glare” around bright lights
Sore or tired eyes
Difficulty with eye focus when reading or at a computer
If your child complains of the above symptoms or you note them in your child, make an appointment with your pediatrician or ophthalmologist for an evaluation.
How are Refractive Errors Treated?
The standard treatment for refractive errors is eyeglasses. The right prescription lens is key, so make sure to have your child evaluated rather than purchasing a pair on your own.
Contact lenses are an option for older children who do not want to wear glasses. Again this is only with the recommendation of a doctor.
Sometimes surgery is an option for refractive errors in adults and is done by Lasik procedure. Lasik changes the shape of the cornea, which corrects the refractive error. However, Lasik is not recommended for pediatric patients.
Where Can I Find a Child Ophthalmologist near me?
Our exceptional doctors, Amy Lambert, MD, and Rachel Bloom, MD, are board-certified pediatric ophthalmologists. Dr. Lambert, the Pediatric Eye Associates, LLC, is also a board-certified strabismus surgeon, and Dr. Bloom is also fellowship-trained.
Our child eye doctors are experts at meeting your children’s eye and vision needs. We pride ourselves on the results we achieve with our patients, and we believe the key is not just our medical expertise but also attitude and patience with the children.
Our motto is “to provide the highest quality eye care for children in a setting that is comfortable and reassuring.”
You can get in touch with us by:
- Visiting our practice 22 Old Short Hills Rd. Lower Level-1, Livingston, New Jersey 07039
- Calling us on 973-422-1230
- Submitting the inquiry form on our contact us page
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.