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My kindergartner has been diagnosed with an astigmatism.
She usually wears her glasses with no problem, but
sometimes, when she really should be wearing them, she just
refuses, saying she can see ''just fine''.
The research I have done indicates that with this
condition, what she sees, without her glasses, is fuzzy
I understand that somtimes she does not want to wear them
and I do not want to be awful about it such that she never
wants to wear them.......but if she is seeing the world as
blurry, I guess I will have to become a nag.
If you have this condition, please share with me what it is
If you have a child with glasses, please share your
techniques for pursuading them to wear their glasses
without becoming a ogre.
Wants her to see clearly
The answer on the astigmatism glasses is ''it depends on the
prescription.'' I'm assuming she has a pretty high level of
astigmatism, or glasses would not have been prescribed at
all. If that is the case, it is possible that her
prescription will not develop normally unless she wears the
glasses almost full time.
Having said that, here are the facts about astigmatism:
Unless nearsightedness, astigmatism ''smears'' your vision.
This is especially problematic when reading. An E may look
more like a B or a P, for example, because the image is
smeared. Makes learning to read more difficult. However,
for some types of astigmatism, running and playing outside
is no big deal, and a child sees more than well enough to
do these tasks. So, it all depends on the Rx--ask the doc.
As for how to get them to wear the glasses, it's easier
said than done, but I'd consider them like clothing. Are
you allowed to go out without your clothes? No. Period. Or,
you can think of them like medicine. Will her vision
deteriorate without them? Quite possibly so because she is
YOUNG. For an adult, not wearing glasses is no big deal
because your brain is already set and won't undo its
connections. For a child whose vision is still developing
at age 5 or 6, it is a problem.
The trick is not to get in a power struggle over them.
Glasses off? In time out until they go back on. No drama,
no fuss. Just plain and simple. And, if she wants a break
from them, go sit in time out for a bit. No problem. Time
out, the shower, and in bed are where no-glasses is OK.
But, again, it depends on the Rx. If her Rx is very mild,
then you may not have to be so strict about it, but then
again, being strict for a bit can get her in a habit, and
then you don't have to worry anymore.
Optometrist mom who has a son with glasses
I found out I needed glasses in 1st grade. In retrospect, I needed them
earlier, but didn't know. Even once I got them, it took a while to adjust,
and I didn't wear them in the playground.
It probably wasn't until I got contact lenses in middle school that I finally
had corrected vision all the time.
Anyway, it wasn't that big of a deal and I have very poor vision. If
your daughters just a little fuzzy, maybe just give her time to adjust to the
new accessories before tryingto make sure they are on te time.
You say that your research into astigmatism ''indicates that
with this condition, what she sees, without her glasses, is
fuzzy even blurry.''
Not necessarily. Astigmatism, like myopia/shortsightedness,
comes in degrees. I've lived with both for years, and I
would have no qualms, for example, playing soccer without my
contacts or even driving in an emergency. The sight is
fuzzy and blurry, but that doesn't mean I can't see what
needs to be seen.
What's not clear is what you mean by ''when she really should
be wearing'' her glasses or what you're basing that opinion
on. If she's in school and needs to see the blackboard,
well, yes. Playing T-ball or catch, probably. Playing
four-square or riding a bike, maybe not.
I don't have great ideas about getting kids to wear
glasses, but I do have an idea you might consider. My
daughter (age 6) was diagnosed with a different problem,
which required a contact lens. We were worried, but it was
surprisingly easy for us to adapt to this. Now the
problem requires she wears glasses for a few months and I
am finding it torture -- to keep them on, to keep them in
front of her eyes, to keep them clean. Can't wait to
return to contact lenses! They can work with some
astigmatisms, so you might check it out.
Hi, we have been in exactly same situation (astigmatism). We had success with
bribing - one jelly bean every day she wore her glasses. After one month she got
to go to a restaurant of her choice for dinner. Also, I usually wear contacts but
started to wear my glasses almost daily.
We were told that as long as she wears glasses when reading etc. it's ok to take
a break once in a while when playing.
When I was in 1st grade, i received a pair of glasses for
astigmatism. I didn't like them either.
Bythe time I was nearly done with 2nd grade, it turned out I
no longer needed them. Either my eyes had changed
sufficiently to not require them anymore, or the extent of
my astigmatism was not enough to truly warrant the use of
glasses. Today at 50, I am just starting to need glasses
again, but not for astigmatism. Although I have always had
a little bit of astigmatism, it only show up in very
detailed eye exams and it has never bothered me. I never
felt that I had blurry vision.
I have heard of friends' children who, once they get
glasses, never want to take them off, because they help them
see so well. These kids definitely need glasses.
Perhaps you child does not want to wear them all the time
(or at all?) because they don't help her much. Despite your
research findings, she may not be seeing the world as
blurry. It would be difficult for you to tell. When vision
is not that far off normal, wearing glasses is more
distracting than it is helpful. Her behavior may be telling
you this. YOu could always get a 2nd opinion. If you
haven't tried the US optometry clinic - the part especially
for kids - you could try an appointment there.
Far seeing parent
I was in a similar situation as a child and was forced to
wear glasses early. It seemed that my nearsightedness and
astigmatism just got worse with every pair of glasses as I
got older. Today I am extremely nearsighted and have some
After I grew up, I read multiple studies that demonstrated
that glasses on young children can make their eyes get worse
(especially with nearsightedness), possibly because the eyes
grow and adapt to the glasses rather than adapting to the
outside world. If the child's eyesight is a little blurry,
it will actually get better over time.
Of course, if she needs glasses to see the blackboard or to
read, she should wear them at that time. But not every
waking hour! Certainly they're not necessary on the
playground or when not in school.
It turns out glasses are a great revenue generator for
optometrists, so studies such as the ones I mention are not
well-publicized. Nevertheless, there is a lot more
nearsightedness in populations where glasses in childhood
Please don't force your child to wear glasses. If the
blurriness makes her uncomfortable, she will choose to wear
them. If not, please don't risk making her eyes worse.
Artificially produced myope
I had to respond to the last post that said that glasses cause nearsightedness,
and has the very inflammatory and incorrect statement ''It turns out glasses
are a great revenue generator for optometrists, so studies such as the ones I
mention are not well-publicized.'' If these studies were based on good
science, they would be well publicized, and no optometrist could prevent it.
I'd like to see the previous poster respond to this post and cite these studies.
If glasses caused myopia, how would anyone become myopic without first
wearing glasses? If glasses cause the progression of myopia, then how come
children who have poor access to healthcare progress in their myopia without
benefit of glasses?
The notion that glasses cause myopia has been proved incorrect many times
by many different studies. I would refer the reader to the Orinda study as well
as BIBS study for some reading and education.
In response to the question for studies, here's a URL that
searches for studies detailing the adverse effects of
And since the original post was about astigmatism:
There also exist studies for complementary therapies or
alternative therapies. There are many reviews of the studies
(the list includes includes 'non alternative' as well as
I want to make one final comment about astigmatism and the
use of glasses. Allison provided us with some links to NEI
studies regarding use of glasses. The studies don't speak to
astigmatism in particular, but I did want to point out that
there IS very interesting work being done right now in the
field of myopia progression that her link did provide. I
just wanted to point out that optometrists are leading
the research in this area. One of the original posts that I
responded to stated that optometrists were somehow in a huge
conspiracy to make money off of people by creating
nearsightedness/astigmatism by prescribing glasses.
Those types of statements really irritate me because nothing
could be farther from the truth. Usually, people who make
these comments will quote the Bates Method (which has been
discredited many times over). However, since
the latest post pointed to some legitimate science, I did
want to comment that there is progress being made in this
area, but it is in its early stages of study.
And, my final word will be that if the original poster's
child was less than 6 then glasses are imperative to insure
proper visual and behavioral development.
We have just found out my 5 1/2 yr daughter has an astigmatism.
Does anyone know if this means she will need to wear glasses for
sure? Whta have been other people's experience with this?
Regarding your 5.5 yr old with astigmatism.. How much she needs to wear her
glasses really depends on the amount of astigmatism that she has, and what
her visual acuity is with and without glasses (and without squinting). If the
amount of astigmatism is greater than about 1 diopter part time use is often
recommended, and greater than about 2 diopters full time (or almost fulltime).
Doctor's opinions may vary on this, and nobody here can be specific in our
recommendations because we haven't seen your daughter as a patient! Her
astigmatism is not likely to go away (in contrast, a 1 yr old child's astigmatism
may go away).
I was diagnosed with an astigmatism and myopia (near-sightedness)
at 7 1/2. My father had the same condition, and I inherited it
from him. The astigmatism causes a distortion in the vision- I
believe that the lens is 'warped', and as far as I know there is
no treatment for it. It's different than near-sightedness or
far-sightedness where the lens is either too flat or too round
and the light rays fall short of or past the retina causing focus
I was freaked out that I was going to have to wear glasses- I
didn't like the idea of being dependent on them. But one of my
clearest childhood memories is of coming out of the optician's
office and being able to see again. It was winter and the tree
branches were bare and I could see their crisp detail with a thin
coating of ice. It was wonderful.
Wearing glasses isn't so bad, and not being able to see clearly
is. Besides, they make adorable kid's glasses now as opposed to
the grim things I had to wear way back then!
You'll probably get more learned responses than this one, but
here's my take -- as a nearsighted glasses/contacts wearer with
astigmatism in both eyes but to different degrees. Nearsighted
and farsightedness are general focus problems; you need a lens
to make a sharp image. Astigmatism is, like, a curviness.
Think fun house mirror. A distortion. Whether it needs to be
corrected depends on how severe it is. Mine comes and goes. I
have had times when I needed a toric (astigmatism-correcting)
contact for both eyes, and times when only one needed it. Your
pediatrician should be able to advise you.
I'm curious as to why you didn't ask your doctor this question.
He/She would be the most knowledgable about your daughter's
condition. Many factors are involved in order to answer your
question properly.Such as family history, dioptric value of the
astigmatism ,visual acuity and if there are any associated
factors such as anisometropia, amblyopia or strabismus. If you
are not comfortable with your doctor a second opinion is always
a good idea. UC Berkeley has an excellent pediatric optometry
clinic(642-2020). By the way, astigmatism isn't a disease, it's
in the same category as other refractive errors such as myopia
and hyperopia. Try not to worry, there's always contacts and the
frames for kids are really cute now.
A pediatric optometrist and mom
I was diagnosed with astigmatism when I was 6 years old. I wore
those blue pointy glasses with faux diamonds. Quite lovely but
I hated them. By the time I was 8 yrs old the doc in our new
town said I didn't need the glasses anymore. Now I am 42 and I
am the only sib out of 5 that doesn't need glasses. I still
have a slight astigmatism, but not enough to need glasses
still. Soooo, you never can tell what may happen. ANd glasses
aren't so bad these days. There are many more choices than
there were in the early 70s!
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