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What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common condition that causes blurred vision. Typically, the front surface of the eye is round, like a football. But with astigmatism, it is shaped more like a rugby ball. This changes the way light enters the eye and makes objects both near and far appear blurry. A child can have astigmatism in one or both eyes.

How to spot astigmatism in children

The most commonly observed signs are:

  • Having to squint to see clearly
  • Headache
  • Inclined head (in case of significant astigmatism)
  • Confusion of letters like H, M, N or numbers like 8 and 0
  • Writing above the lines or too inclined
  • Blurred vision

In young children, a high astigmatism may cause lazy eye. It’s important this is spotted early so it can be treated. It is therefore important for children to have an eye test in order to manage the condition as it may affect their reading or concentration and in more severe cases early management could avoid progressive loss of vision.

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