Most parents go through a stream of emotions when they are told that their child requires glasses. Slumped shoulders, lowered eyes sometimes with tears in them, usually accompany the news that their young one’s beautiful eyes will have to be hidden behind a contraption of metal and plastic.
Glasses are prescribed in order to correct the errors of refraction which basically means that the ‘lens system’ of the child’s eye, which comprises the cornea and the crystalline lens, is unable to focus a clear image of the world around them onto the ‘sensor’ system of the eye which is the retina. This out of focus image leads to blurred vision and other symptoms like headaches.
Refractive errors are usually genetically determined. It can happen even if nobody in the family wears glasses. Some errors may be present at birth but most present at the time of their growth spurt usually seen at around eight years of age.
Some signs that your child may need glasses:
Squeezing her eyes when looking at distant objects (television / board in school)
Rubbing of eyes due to eye strain
No consultation with a child and its parents is complete without a discussion about their little one’s screen viewing habits. Today’s children are digital natives. As more and more content including schoolwork moves to the digital sphere, so will their engagement with electronic screens. Here are some ways to maintain ‘digital hygiene’:
Always read in adequate light (books or screens – this rule holds)
Always maintain adequate distance from your reading /viewing material. A distance of at least 30 cm from your eyes is appropriate.
(The author is consultant,
ophthalmology, Aster CMI Hospital)