May 20, 2007,
A.B. asks from Brooklyn, MD on May 17, 2007
Son Just Diagnosed with Astigmatism
Hi I just found out today that my son has astigmatism and will need to wear glasses. I was upset about this at first, but did some research and found it is very common. The doctor said that as long as he wears glasses, since his eyesight develops until around age 10, he may be able to correct the problem. Does anybody have any experience with this? Also how do you make a 5 year old keep glasses on. This is all new to me and need some advice. Thanks
S.L. answers from Washington DC on May 20, 2007
I was also a child who began wearing glasses at a young age due to astigmatism. I realize the common realization is that children will wear their glasses once they get used to them, but I believe you wanted to know how to get to that point. First, help your son pick out a pair that he likes, as was suggested by one of the other respondents. If your son becomes involved in sports leagues, you may need to check into getting special sports glasses that are strapped to stay on his head while playing sports.
Your insistence and persistence in having your son wear his glasses is the most effective way to get him to keep them on his face until he gets comfortable, but perhaps you can give him incentives for going the whole day (and later the week) with wearing his glasses without your insistence. I recommend books (reading, coloring, stickers, etc.) since those items require good eyesight (thus reinforcing using the glasses) and I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't like books, especially when they focus on a favorite topic or character.
I hope your son does outgrow his condition, but don't be discouraged if he does not (I was one who didn't). Lasik procedures exist to correct astigmatism which is what I had done a few years ago, and I am glad to be glasses-free.
L.P. answers from Harrisburg on May 17, 2007
My son doesn't have astigmatism, but he does wear glasses and has since he's been 6 months old. He is now almost 7 years old. He wears his faithfully, not because that is what he is used to but, because he can see much better with them on. Once your son gets his glasses and notices how well he can see things better than he has before hopefully it will encourage him to wear his glasses faithfully also.
E.B. answers from Dover on May 18, 2007
Hey there! Well, just some more reassurance from another mother...my daughter is almost 15 months old and doesn't have any eye problems yet, but I was told I have astigmatism in one of my eyes. Yes, it is VERY common and it's not a big deal. My doctor told me that it's just a different shape the eye is in. I would think that with your son still growing, your doctor is right, it will probably be corrected. As far as your son wearing glasses, I am not sure how to go about keeping them on him but I have seen children younger than him with glasses and asked their parents how they do it and most of them say they get used to them quickly when they see that they can see better (like anyone really). I hope this helps and don't worry. It is a very common thing to have. :-)
C.W. answers from Washington DC on May 18, 2007
I can personally attest to the ability to outgrow this as I did it myself. I was diagnosed at the age of 11. Throughout my teenage years I would wear my glasses, especially when I started driving at 16. The best birthday present ever was when I turned 21 and was told that I no longer needed my glasses. My eyesight has been 20/20 or better ever since, and I am now 37. Have heart, it's not a death sentence. It's better to get the glasses now so your child does not have problems in school with seeing the board, etc. It can be difficult - given the age - but once your child gets used to the glasses and realizes the difference in vision, there shouldn't be too much problem in keeping them on.
J.C. answers from Washington DC on May 18, 2007
My daughter was diagnosed with 2 astigmatisms when she was 4 mths!! She saw an ophthamalogist, so I'm pretty sure he was right and not mis-diagnosing. He told me that they cannot be corrected, they don't go away or get better, the only thing to do is get glasses. he said to follow up in a year and if they worsen, then she should get glasses. well, she had her follow up, and thank God, they didn't get worse. i could not imagine attempting to put glasses on a 1 year old who won't even let me put a hat on her.
I think at age five, your son would do fine with wearing glasses. and at that age, he'll notice the difference in his vision and probably want to wear them. Maybe talk positive about glasses, how they're cool and stylish.
best of luck to you.
M.J. answers from Dover on May 18, 2007
I agree with Leslie 100%. I've been wearing glasses since I was about 5 & once I realized that I didn't have headaches & didn't need to squint to see the tv, nobody had to tell me or make me wear them again, I did it all on my own. Let him have some say in the frames he gets & that should help a bit also.