Paediatric Refractive Errors: what you need to know as parents?

If you notice your child having trouble reading or sitting too close to the television, you should consider taking him or her to an eye doctor. These along with eye rubbing, squinting and lack of interest in school are often seen in children with refractive errors. Poor vision in one or both eyes during childhood can lead to the condition known as lazy eye that can cause long-term problems with your child’s vision. Here are some important things that you as parents should know about pediatric refractive errors and how they can be corrected:

eye treatment in kolkata

Importance of healthy eyes for children 

Healthy eyes and vision are extremely crucial for children. Good vision not only aids in reading, but is equally important for performance in co-curricular activities in school.

What are refractive errors?

A type of vision problem, refractive errors cause blurred vision in children as the shape of the eyes keep the light from focusing images on the retina. The most common type of refractive errors are: 

  • Farsightedness (hyperopia)
  • Nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Astigmatism

If these conditions are not corrected, they can have harmful consequences for your children.

Here we discuss in detail the common refractive errors:

Farsightedness or hyperopia

Children with hyperopia find it difficult to focus on objects close to them. However, they can clearly see faraway objects.


  • Trouble seeing objects up close 
  • Squinting the eyes a lot

Nearsightedness or myopia

Children with myopia cannot focus clearly on distant objects. Nearsightedness is the most common refractive error that is seen in children. Parents should know that young children may not be able to tell that they cannot see properly or may be they are unaware.  It is therefore important for parents to observe children and take them to an eye doctor if they are sitting too close to the TV or holding books up close in the face. 


  • Rubbing eyes
  • Sitting too close to the TV
  • Excess watering of eyes
  • Squinting


The length of the eyeball grows longer than usual. 

  • The cornea is too curved. 


Astigmatism causes blurred distance and near vision.  In many cases, astigmatism begins in early childhood.


  • Distorted vision
  • Eye strain
  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Eye rubbing
  • Trouble reading


  • Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or the lens of the eyes have an irregular curve.

How to correct the refractive errors?

Treatment for refractive errors include 

  • Prescription eyeglasses 
  • Prescription contact lenses
  • Refractive laser eye surgery

Looking for the best eye treatment in Kolkata for children?

Disha Eye Hospitals has a dedicated unit for Paediatric Ophthalmology and squint. Paediatric Ophthalmology deals with problems common to or seen in children. Our team of paediatric ophthalmologists offer the best care possible to children of all ages. 

Some of the eye conditions that our paediatric ophthalmologists and strabismologist treat include: 

  1. Paediatric strabismus
  2. Paediatric cataract
  3. Amblyopia
  4. Adult Strabismus
  5. Allergic disorders (red eye)
  6. Retinopathy of prematurity
  7. Paediatric glaucoma

Is your child suffering from an allergy in the eyes? Check out this useful guide curated by our Paediatric Eye Doctors

When Mrs Suhasini Dasgupta’s son complained of itchy and red eyes, she knew something was wrong. She took her son to one of the best eye hospitals in Kolkata and consulted a paediatric eye doctor. The eye doctor told her that her son was suffering from allergic conjunctivitis – an eye condition that causes red, watery and itchy eyes. He explained to her that “our immune system (for instance antibodies) helps the body fight off infection-causing germs. Allergic diseases occur when the body’s immune system responds to harmless substances like dust or pollen.” The eye doctor also recommended her to visit an allergist who can run a couple of skin and blood tests to help identify the specific allergen(s).

paediatric eye doctor

Allergic conjunctivitis is fairly common and like Mrs Dasgupta’s son, there are many kids who suffer from different types of eye allergies such as Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis and Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis.

Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis – occurs due to allergic reaction to:

  • Seasonal changes (for instance, when the pollen count is high) – if the eye allergy is accompanied by sneezing, nasal congestion and fever, there are high chances that the allergy is seasonal.
  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Cosmetics


  • Red or pink eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Photophobia (discomfort due  to bright light)
  • Foreign body sensation ( a feeling of something being stuck in the eyes)
  • Excessive tearing
  • Swollen eyes

Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis – strongly linked to Atopic Dermatitis (eczema) and usually affects both the eyes.


  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning sensation
  • Tearing
  • Thick mucous discharge from the eyes

If Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis is not treated on time, it can scar the cornea. It often affects people when they are in the age group between their late teenage years and their fifties.

Other Allergic Conjunctivitis

If your child wears contact lenses, he/she is at higher risk of developing a mild type of allergy known as contact allergic conjunctivitis. In such cases, your kid will be advised to temporarily stop wearing the lenses until the signs resolve. However, if your child is complaining of blurred vision, itchy eyes, foreign body sensation, red eyes and mucus discharge, then it’s giant papillary conjunctivitis – a severe form of contact allergic conjunctivitis.

Prevention and Management 

  • When outdoors, your child must wear glasses or sunglasses to prevent exposure from dust, mold, or pollen.
  • Reduce their exposure to dust mites
  • Don’t let them rub their eyes as it may aggravate the condition
  • To limit their exposure to mold, keep the humidity of your home at a lower level.
  • Clean your home regularly and do the cleaning/ dusting when your kid is not around.
  • Rinse the eyes with cold water.


If prevention and management of the allergy does not improve the condition, visit a Paediatric eye doctor at the earliest. The doctor may prescribe allergy eye drops to your child. These clean the allergens out of the eyes, thus reducing any further inflammation. Your child needs to use these drops regularly every day. Even when your child starts feeling better, he/she mustn’t stop using them unless your Paediatric eye doctor advises doing so. It’s because stopping to apply the eye drops suddenly may cause the problem to return or even cause eye damage.