REFRACTIVE ERRORS

Refractive error, when left uncorrected, is the most common cause of visual impairment. It is caused due to abnormal size and curvature of the eyeball. It is often hereditary in nature.
Types of refractive errors
  1. Myopia or nearsighetdness: Persons with myopia have blurred distant vision. Children with myopia maybe unaware of their problem, hence, routine eye check ups are important. It usually increases till the age of 20. Prolonged near work may cause it to progress.
  2. Hypermetropia or far sightedness: Persons with hypermetropia have difficulty in seeing both near and distant objects clearly. If uncorrected it leads to eyestrain and headache. At times it maybe hidden and patient may strain the eyes in an attempt to overcome the number.
  3. Astigmatism: In this condition the horizontal and vertical axis have different power. It causes eyestrain and is corrected by wearing cylindrical glasses.
  4. Presbyopia: After the age of 40, usually people have difficulty in seeing near objects clearly. This is because the plasticity of the human lens decreases with age and it cannot be easily moulded to change its power. Thus, reading glasses are required.

Prevention

Refractive errors cannot be prevented. However, they can be corrected timely by regular eye check ups and wearing glasses as advised.

Proper diet and posture while studying help to reduce strain but cannot reduce the number.
How to identify refractive errors in children?
  1. Child complains of hazy vision
  2. Headache while studying or watching TV
  3. Squeezing eyes while seeing distant objects
  4. Not taking interest in studies
  5. Copying from other children’s notebooks instead of blackboard
  6. Squint
Treatment
  1. Glasses
  2. Contact lenses
  3. Laser surgery- LASIK, C Lasik, PRK
  4. Implantable collamer lens (ICL)
  5. Refractive lens exchange
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