In this episode of Nayonika Abhignanam, Dr. Surekha speaks about Refractive Errors. “Usually, light rays pass through the retina and within seconds, the message gets sent to the brain cells to identify the object or person being viewed. Problems arise when this function doesn’t occur properly. This condition is called a refractive error.”
The most common types of refractive errors are myopia, hypermetropia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. Myopia (nearsightedness) is a condition where objects up close appear clearly, while objects far away appear blurry. With myopia, the light comes to focus in front of the retina instead of on the retina.
Hypermetropia (farsightedness) is a common type of refractive error where distant objects may be seen more clearly than objects that are near.
Astigmatism is a condition in which the eye does not focus light evenly onto the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This can cause images to appear blurry and stretched out.
Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the ability to focus up close becomes more difficult. As the eye ages, the lens can no longer change shape enough to allow the eye to focus close objects clearly.
The reasons for these errors differ from person to person – including excessive watching of the television, looking at the mobile or laptop screens for a long time, hereditary factors, and consuming certain medicines for particular diseases for a long period of time.
Usually, children won’t be able to tell that they can’t read or write fully well. “As parents, it’s our responsibility to identify the symptoms; like when they say they can’t read the bus number and name, or when they consistently use wrong spelling (unable to tell the difference between ‘a’ and ‘e’), have watery eyes, watch television from close distances, complain about a headache regularly, and/or always want to sit on the first bench in the classroom.” When one neglects any of these symptons, there are chances of the eyesight being lost completely. Sometimes, only one eye will experience a problem and the person won’t be able to identify it as most people belive that eye problems arise in both eyes, at the same time.
Treatment for refractive errors starts with spectacles. With the doctor’s advice, lens can also be used and beyond a certain period, laser treatment can be sought, depending on certain criteria relating to eye health.