Why does my child need glasses?
Children may need glasses for several reasons. Glasses may play an important role in ensuring normal development of vision. The main reasons a child may need glasses are:
- To provide better vision, so that a child may function better in his/her environment
- To help straighten the eyes when an eye turn (strabismus) is present
- To help strengthen the vision of a weak eye (amblyopia or “lazy eye”)
How can a child be tested for glasses, especially in infancy or early childhood?
The Ophthalmologist at Western Sydney Eye Doctors can detect the need for glasses through a complete eye exam. Typically, the pupils are dilated in order to relax the focusing muscles, so that the doctor can accurately assess the need for glasses.
Some reasons why your child may be prescribed glasses include:
- Myopia (short-sighted) – This is a condition where the distance vision is blurred, but a child can usually see well for reading or other near tasks. It usually stabilises in early adolescence, however, in some cases it can continue to progress and eye drops may be required to slow the progression down. The Ophthalmologist will monitor this closely and advise you if this is needed.
- Hypermetropia (long-sighted) – Most children are long-sighted early in life (this is normal!) and need no treatment for this because they can use their own focusing muscles to provide clear vision for both distance and near vision. A significant amount of long-sightedness can lead to blurred vision for close objects.
- Astigmatism – Astigmatism is caused by a difference in the surface curvature of the eye. Instead of being shaped like a soccer ball, it is shaped liked a rugby ball. If your child has a significant astigmatism, fine details may look blurred or distorted
- Anisometropia – Some children may have a different prescription in each eye. This can create a condition called amblyopia, where the vision in one eye does not develop normally. Glasses (and sometimes patching or eye drops) are needed to ensure that each eye can see clearly.
- Control of an eye turn – In some cases, an eye turn (squint) may be reduced or corrected with glasses. All children will be assessed for glasses during their appointment at Western Sydney Eye Doctors and the Ophthalmologist will advise you on the most appropriate treatment plan.
Will wearing glasses make my child’s eyes worse or more dependent on them?
No. In fact, the opposite may be true. If a child does not wear the glasses prescribed, normal vision development can be adversely affected.
You may experience some difficulty encouraging your child to wear their new glasses. The staff at Western Sydney Eye Doctors will be able to discuss strategies to improve compliance with the glasses.