Category Archives: astigmatism

Signs Your Child Needs Glasses

When your child is of a very young age, it can be difficult to tell if they are having difficulty with their vision or are simply developing strange habits. It can be especially difficult to tell if your child is having vision difficulty if they have yet to learn how to speak. Because of this, we have gathered some common vision impairment signs.

  1.     Getting too close to objects. This is usually a more common concern for parents. If your child is sitting too close to the T.V. or holding objects close up to their face in order to see, they could be near sighted.
  2.     Are constantly squinting or closing an eye. These are other common signs of vision impairment. If your child is doing this, it can be because they are trying to reduce blurred vision or they are trying to cover the poorer vision. These are signs of amblyopia, strabismus or cataract.
  3.     Tilt their head to see. When children constantly tilt their heads when looking at object, it could be to help reduce double vision. If this is the case, they could have an eye muscle imbalance, also known as strabismus.
  4.     Are constantly rubbing eyes. This can be a sign of tiredness or eye fatigue. If this is constantly occurring, it could be a sign of allergic conjunctivitis.
  5.     Teary eyes. This is common for children whose eyelids don’t completely close when they’re asleep. This can cause dry eyes and vision impairment.

If any of these signs are common or visible in your child, schedule an eye exam to help correct their vision and help them see more clearly!


What Your Prescription Means

If you are one of the estimated 11 million Americans that has a common vision problem such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, then you probably have a prescription for corrective eyewear such as glasses or contact lenses. Do you understand what your script is for and what it means about your vision?

The common eye disorders mentioned above are known as refractive errors and they occur when the eye doesn’t correctly bend, or refract, light as it enters the eye. Let’s take a look at each of these and what it means about your prescription.

The first step to understanding your eyeglass prescription is knowing what “OD” and OS” mean. They are abbreviations for oculus dexter and oculus sinister, which are Latin terms for right eye and left eye. Your eyeglass prescription also may have a column labeled “OU.” This is the abbreviation for the Latin term oculus uterque, which means “both eyes.”

  • Nearsightedness or myopia is when light enters the cornea and is refracted, or “sent” to a spot in the eye before reaching the retina. For people who are nearsighted, the light waves are sent to the wrong place on the retina. Nearsighted is a condition where objects up close appear clearly, while objects far away appear blurry. The extent or amount that a patient is will be denoted in the number on the prescription. If the number appearing under the heading sphere has a minus sign (–), you are nearsighted.
  • Farsightedness or hyperopia means that the light is refracted to a place beyond the retina. Farsightedness means that items far away are clear, but activities like reading and knitting are difficult, because nearby objects appear fuzzy or unfocused. Some people may not notice any problems with their vision, especially when they are young. If the number appearing under the heading sphere on your prescription has a plus sign, you are farsighted.
  • Astigmatism is another refractive error, distorting objects both near and far, so that everything appears out of focus and skewed.

Call Independent Eye Care to have your annual exam and find out more about your prescription.


There are many eye disorders that adults and children have that are widely understood and discussed. Most of us understand the concept of being nearsighted and farsighted. Astigmatism, however, is probably one of the more confusing and misunderstood eye problems.  Not only is the vision problem commonly mispronounced but its origin and type of problem is widely misconstrued.  Let’s examine the eye problem astigmatism, what it is and how eye doctors treat it.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a fairly common refractive error occurring in about 28% of the population. Refractive errors often are the main reason a person seeks the services of an optometrist or ophthalmologist. What a refractive error means is that the person is seeing blurry because optical imperfections are preventing the eye from properly focusing/bending (refracting) light. The primary refractive errors are nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

The Cause of Astigmatism –

The eye’s ability to focus/bend light sharply on the retina primarily is based on three eye anatomy features: 1) the overall length of the eye, 2) the curvature of the cornea and 3) the curvature of the lens inside the eye. Astigmatism occurs when he cornea is not perfectly spherical, then the image is refracted or focused irregularly on the retina. A person can be nearsighted or farsighted with or without astigmatism.

Treatment for Astigmatism

An eye specialist can determine the extent of your refraction problem by using a computerized instrument (automated refraction) or with a mechanical instrument called a phoropter. These methods allow the doctor to show you one lens at a time to find the right refraction for your eye.  Your eye doctor will use the results of your refraction to determine your eyeglasses prescription which can mean eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you prefer contact lenses a special fitting can also help find the right prescription for your eye.  There is also refractive surgery that can assist in these types of cases.  Talk to your eye doctor about what is right for your unique eyes.

Contact Independent Eye Care in Danvers, Beverly or Topsfield.

Danvers: 978-774-4500     Beverly: 978-921-5000     Topsfield: 978-887-0068