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Common vision problems

Short-sightedness, or myopia, is when our distance vision is blurred. It commonly occurs at a young age can be corrected with glasses and contact lenses. Glasses may be needed full time or for specific things like driving and watching television.

Long-sightedness, or hyperopia, affects our ability to focus. This can affect our close vision and distance vision. Glasses or contact lenses may be needed all of the time or for near work such as reading, writing, phones and computers. A lot of children are slightly long-sighted and often do not require glasses unless it is causing a problem.

Astigmatism is when the cornea or lens is shaped or curved like a rugby ball. It causes blurred vision and/or headaches. Astigmatism can easily be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Presbyopia is an age-related change where we lose our ability to focus on objects close to us. This is a natural change that occurs gradually as we age. It usually begins in our 40’s where we start holding books or print further away, enlarge text on our phones & tablets, or need more light for small print.

Presbyopia can is corrected with reading glasses, varifocals, bifocals and contact lenses.

A squint (also known as strabismus) is a condition where the eyes point in different directions. One eye may turn inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards while the other eye looks forward.

Squints affect around one in 20 children. A squint usually develops before the age of five (but can appear later) and is usually picked up through a routine eye check. Squint’s can cause blurred vision or double vision. If left untreated a squint can cause a lazy eye (amblyopia) to develop in children.

A lazy eye (amblyopia) is a childhood condition where one eye does not develop properly leading to poor vision. Those affected see less clear out of the weaker eye and rely on the ‘good’ eye. Around one in 50 children develop a lazy eye and it is usually detected through a routine eye check.

A lazy eye can go unnoticed as children are often unaware that anything is wrong with their vision. In some cases, there are other conditions that could cause a lazy eye such as a squint, short-sightedness, long-sightedness, astigmatism or rarely, childhood cataracts.

A lazy eye can be treated with glasses. If the affected eye does not respond then a patch can be worn over the ‘good’ eye to make the weaker eye work. A lazy eye can be treated up to around seven or eight years of age, therefore needs examined as soon as possible.