Astigmatism can be present from the birth of baby. But an astigmatic baby will not necessarily need to wear corrective glasses so far: all depends on the level of astigmatism and the possible presence of another visual disorder (myopia, hyperopia).
What does it mean to be "astigmatic"?
- In the majority of cases, astigmatism is linked to a small malformation of the cornea (or more rarely of the lens), present from birth: the cornea, a little too oval, has a defect of curvature more or less pronounced. Result: it does not properly converge the light rays on the retina, resulting in a distorted and inaccurate vision, far or near. Details are difficult to perceive and horizontal and vertical lines tend to blend. This being said, when the astigmatism is light, the eye generally manages to compensate for the problem of convergence, which makes it possible to preserve a good vision.
How to know if baby is astigmatic?
- The signs of astigmatism are not always obvious to spot oneself. However, an astigmatic baby often tends to tilt his head abnormally when he fixes something. He can also approach his face a lot of the objects he is looking at and have the edge of the red eyelids ...
- When in doubt, consult an ophthalmologist. Note: even in the absence of symptoms, it is recommended to pass an ophthalmological examination to baby, between 9 and 18 months. Most of the visual disturbances detected at this age are easily corrected.
Glasses for an astigmatic baby?
- Even if a baby is diagnosed with astigmatism, wearing glasses is not systematic: mild astigmatism often disappears during the first years of life. At first, the ophthalmologist can propose a simple follow-up to check that astigmatism does not worsen.
- If the visual disturbance is still present at the age of 3, the young child may need glasses, especially if the ophthalmologist believes that his degree of astigmatism may hinder his learning to read (without glasses , it may be difficult to distinguish between letters too similar like M and N for example).
- It also happens that corrective glasses are prescribed to a baby well before this age, usually to correct a pronounced astigmatism, possibly associated with another visual disturbance such as myopia (far-sighted vision) or hyperopia (near-vision disorder) . There are models adapted to the morphology of toddlers, with flexible frames and very light. Again, baby's eyesight should be checked regularly.
Astigmatism: what are the other solutions?
- In general, astigmatic babies are good at wearing corrective glasses. However, some children want to do without, for practical or aesthetic reasons. In this case, the wearing of contact lenses is possible but it is necessary that the child is large enough to properly understand the hygiene instructions related to its use. In general, the ophthalmologist prescribes rigid lenses that can be worn for 1 month night and day. If necessary, astigmatism can also be surgically corrected (most often by laser surgery), but surgery rarely takes place before the age of 18: vision must be well stabilized.