The astigmatism in babies


The cornea of ​​the eye is usually evenly curved.
With corneal curvature in babies, the cornea has different curvatures and the resulting change in the refraction of light causes the images to be distorted into lines instead of punctiform. Due to this physical difference, astigmatism is also called astigmatism. Other visual defects often occur.

Causes of astigmatism in babies

Astigmatism (Astuteness, astigmatism) is mostly congenital and therefore often inherited from the parents.
Eye training cannot compensate for this visual defect. Instead, it is particularly important to examine children early for any astigmatism in the baby.
If the parents are also affected, the child should be presented to the ophthalmologist regularly so that astigmatism can be detected in good time to prevent developmental delays.

What are the symptoms of astigmatism in babies?

A baby with astigmatism cannot see clearly at short or long distances and therefore constantly strives to focus their vision. This often happens by squinting the eyes and quickly leads to fatigue, eye irritation, eye inflammation and headaches. If the astigmatism is more pronounced in one eye than the other, the baby often tries to compensate for this difference by squinting.
Depending on the age of the baby, you may also have difficulty gripping.

Find out more at: Astigmatism: Symptoms

Examining astigmatism in a baby

The best way to examine the eyesight of a baby is in a so-called "vision school".
This is a relatively new association of ophthalmologists and orthoptists at university eye clinics, at hospitals, in ophthalmological practices and in special facilities that jointly examine children from the age of 3 months (no later than the age of 1, the child should be presented in addition to the statutory preventive medical check-up if there is a suspicion of impaired vision such as strabismus, ametropia or eye muscle disorder.

The special thing about the examinations in the “visual schools” is that they are playful and therefore child-friendly. In order to be able to assess the eyesight, eye drops are administered, but their effect wears off after a few hours.
There is no time pressure as in a normal ophthalmologist's practice and dealing with children is everyday for all examiners. In addition, by constantly dealing with it, they have a more targeted view of possible diseases of the eyesight in childhood, which promises a targeted examination and conscientious therapeutic approaches.

Learn more at: Recognize poor eyesight in children

Therapy for astigmatism in babies

The methods for treating astigmatism are very diverse: They range from glasses with cylinder lenses to dimensionally stable contact lenses, to laser surgery or corneal transplantation.
The choice of therapy always depends on the individual degree of curvature.

For the baby, only therapy through glasses is initially an option. Later, in adolescence, the options mentioned above can be considered.

For more information, see: Laser therapy for astigmatism

Glasses for astigmatism in babies

If the curvature of the cornea is very pronounced in the baby, conservative treatment by masking the healthy eye usually does not achieve sufficient results; especially if both eyes are affected.

Therefore, one should start with fitting suitable glasses with the baby. The glasses are individually adapted by the optician to the condition of the eyes and should have a few special properties. The glasses are made of stable and unbreakable plastic glass. In addition, the bridge of the glasses should be made of silicone so that it is deformable and does not cause pressure points on the bridge of the nose.

With the early use of glasses in babies, not yet fully developed nerve tracts can further mature and differentiate and thereby improve ametropia.

Read on below: Glasses - you should pay attention to this

Is astigmatism curable in babies?

A corneal curvature in babies is not completely curable.
An ametropia that already exists at birth cannot be completely compensated with the therapeutic measures and can worsen in the course of the further growth and maturation process. A certain visual defect persists for a lifetime.

It is therefore of particular importance to initiate adequate treatment by adjusting glasses as early as a few months old, so that possible development delays can be prevented as far as possible.

Learn more about the topic at: Astigmatism

Can astigmatism still grow together in babies?

A corneal curvature in the baby cannot completely grow together. Even with early treatment with the help of glasses, the ametropia cannot be completely compensated for. During the growth process, the curvature of the cornea in the baby can still improve somewhat, but it can also increase and lead to greater impairment of vision. Early and regular clarification and control of the findings is particularly important in order to ensure normal and age-appropriate development of the baby.

also read: Development in the baby

Prognosis of astigmatism in babies

If astigmatism is only recognized later in a baby, if left untreated, it often leads to overload and resulting headaches, as the brain tries to compensate for the astigmatism and focus the image on the retina despite the distortion.

If only one eye is affected, it happens that the healthy eye takes over the work of the visual process for both eyes and the diseased eye is so to speak “switched off” in the brain by suppressing the visual information arriving from the diseased eye. In the long term, this means a lot of strain on the healthy eye and often leads to severe headaches over the long term.

Sometimes one eye is more affected by the astigmatism than the other, in which case the baby may try to compensate for this unevenness by squinting. Squinting puts an incorrect strain on the eye muscles.

If the astigmatism is not recognized in time, it can also lead to an additional ametropia such as myopia or farsightedness.

More on this topic:

  • What are the causes of strabismus?
  • What to do when children squint

Recommendations from the editorial team

  • Corneal curvature - the guide values
  • Symptoms of astigmatism
  • Recognize poor eyesight in children
  • Farsightedness
  • myopia