Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is a visual impairment in which light rays passing through the optical system of the eye are focused not on the retina, but on the plane behind it. Because of this the world is not perceived clearly.
It is commonly believed that people with hyperopia see well those objects that are far away from them, but do not perceive well all that is close to them. However, people with a high degree of hyperopia may have difficulty seeing objects both at a distance and up close. This affects a child's quality of life, education and well-being. In order to detect the disorder in time, visit a pediatric ophthalmologist regularly.
Why do children have farsightedness?
The adult eye is approximately 24 mm long. One of the main causes of hyperopia is a discrepancy between the length of the eyeball and the age norm. This visual acuity disorder can also be caused by a weak refractive power of the optical media – the cornea and/or the crystalline lens.
Almost all babies are born farsighted. It is considered that the normal length of the eyeball of a newborn infant is 16-17 mm. This is because the eyes, like other organs of the body, develop and normalize gradually. By about 6-7 years of age, hyperopia should disappear. In this case, experts talk about natural hyperopia, which is not an anomaly. It is quite different if the situation does not change for the better with age.
There are other causes that cause hypermetropia. These can be:
- Congenital pathology of the visual organs: shortened anteroposterior axis, insufficient curvature of the cornea, irregular shape of the lens;
- Hereditary predisposition – especially pronounced in children who are under the age of 6-7 years actively learning to read and write;
- Eye trauma;
- Complications of inflammatory diseases.
Grades of infant hyperopia
There are three degrees of hyperopia:
- Weak – up to 2 diopters;
- Medium – up to 5 diopters;
- High – more than 5 diopters.
If the child has low degree hyperopia, there may not be any pronounced symptoms - it requires straining of the eyes to perceive the environment with sufficient clarity, but often the child does not perceive it as a serious problem. However, in some cases, he may complain of rapid fatigue and headaches.
In young children, hyperopia may be a variant of normal. However, if such hyperopia has not disappeared by the age of 6 or 7, it needs to be corrected.
If moderate hyperopia occurs more often in children older than 8 years of age, the child tries to move the object in question or a book away from the eyes, needs brighter light for reading and playing, and often has soreness in the eyes, pain in the area of the brow and bridge of the nose, and increased visual fatigue.
A high degree of hyperopia usually involves a serious decrease in visual acuity, both near and far. The child constantly feels tired, has a feeling of sand in the eyes, and experiences frequent and severe headaches.
It is also worth bearing in mind that there may be a different degree of farsightedness for each eye.
Signs of hyperopia in children
Only a specialist can determine a child's hyperopia. But it is the parents who may be the first to notice that the child has vision problems. The situation is complicated by the fact that small children cannot explain what they feel and often perceive the defect as normal.
Moreover, in the early stages hyperopia is compensated by the organism's own resources, and therefore it may seem to the layperson that there is nothing wrong with vision.
Also, the symptoms of hyperopia depend on the degree of hyperopia in a child.
The most common are:
- A tendency to push a book, toy and other objects away from the eyes;
- Poor sleep patterns;
- Hysterical state;
- Increased fatigue in the absence of any noticeable health problems;
- Eye inflammation – this is due to the fact that the child rubs them with his hands because of the feeling of fatigue;
- Complaints of headaches, discomfort in the eyes: for example, it seems that in the eyes got sand or any objects.
Young children with farsightedness have difficulty concentrating. Because of this they become irritable, capricious and withdrawn.
A schoolchild with hyperopia is especially characterized by increased fatigue and headaches, which leads to problems with learning and academic performance. This is due to a sharp increase in visual load.
Many of the above symptoms may also indicate other visual impairments, as well as diseases not related to the eyes. Therefore, the last word is always a specialist who can make an accurate diagnosis. Children as well as adults are recommended to visit an ophthalmologist at least once a year for preventive purposes, even if there are no visual complaints.
Natural farsightedness in infants should also be monitored by an ophthalmologist. If the visual impairment persists, the problem may eventually progress to a more serious stage: from mild to moderate, from moderate to high.
Farsightedness can also cause visual disturbances such as:
- Spasm of accommodation – so-called false myopia, caused by spasm of the ciliary muscle due to prolonged focusing on near or far objects. This causes the eye to lose the ability to focus, and visual acuity decreases;
- Amblyopia - "lazy eye" syndrome in which one of the eyes has little or no visual involvement;
- Strabismus – a disorder of the coordinated work of the eyes in which the visual axes deviate from the direction of the object in question.
Diagnosis of farsightedness in children
During diagnosis, the pupil is medically dilated and the cilia muscle is relaxed. The ophthalmologist then examines the patient with a special apparatus that allows hyperopia and its degree of development to be determined.
It is impossible to diagnose hyperopia at home without professional equipment and appropriate skills.
Prophylaxis of hyperopia in children
Specialists recommend a set of measures that are effective in the prevention of many visual impairments, including hyperopia. These are:
- Regular examinations by an ophthalmologist – at least once a year;
- Control over the time the child spends at the computer, television or with mobile gadgets;
- A balanced diet – it is important for your child to get the right amount of vitamins they need for their vision organs to work properly;
- Gymnastics for the eyes;
- Mandatory breaks, both when reading or watching television and when doing homework.
Treatment and correction of hyperopia in the child
As a rule, eye surgery is performed in children only in exceptional cases. With childhood farsightedness, both glasses and contact lenses are used to correct vision. Small children with a mild degree of hyperopia usually require neither correction nor treatment.
Specialists recommend that children eat a balanced diet: a diet rich in vitamins and trace elements, which are good for the organs of vision, helps the eyes to return to normal with time.
At an older age and with a medium or high degree of hyperopia, instrumental treatment may be used. These are various physiotherapeutic methods such as electrostimulation and ultrasound therapy. They are aimed at:
- Improve metabolic processes in the structures of the eye;
- Relieve a child from a feeling of discomfort in the eye;
- Relieve spasm of accommodation.