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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 10786
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Hi, my 4 year old son was prescribed glasses for astigmatism

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Hi, my 4 year old son was prescribed glasses for astigmatism - Right eye: Sph 0.0 Cyl +0.50 Axis 100 Left eye: Sph 0.0 Cyl +1.00 Axis 80. Does he really need to wear glasses? He's never complained of headaches or squinted his eyes and can see the blackboard at school no problem. I asked him to read small numbers from 6meters away and he did without hesitation. I understand that perhaps with glasses his distance vision may become a little sharper, but whats the point him wearing glasses now when he'll possibly need them when he's older anyway, whether or not he wears glasses now. I understand what astigmatism is as i've had it all my life and never worn glasses and my vision has been pretty spot on.
I apologise for my long post but the eye doctor refused to answer any of my questions and i'm desperate for an honest answer. If I choose not to put him in glasses what would you expect his prescription to be in 12 months? Equally if he does wear the glasses what would you expect his prescription to be in 12 months?
Many thanks
Linda

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

are you available to chat?

Customer:

Yes

Dr. Rick :

Ok. Let me review your post....brb

Dr. Rick :

So. Let me get this straight. Your son has no crossing of his eyes (squint) seems to have no visual complaints and, on testing, has fairly equal vision in each eye? Do I have this correct so far?

Dr. Rick :

Also, I bet he was seen by an optometrist and not a pediatric ophthalmologist, correct?

Dr. Rick :

Did he have drops put in his eye a few days before one of his visits so the doctor could do "wet" refraction in addition to the "dry" refraction? Also, did the doctor use a small "flashlight" to do the eyeglasses test, sweeping the light back and forth while figuring out the glasses Rx?

Customer:

Correct, no squint, no visual complaints etc. He has his eyes tested at school and the lady suggested he may have a little problem with his left vision so his appt was with a pediatric opth.. and yes eye drops and flashlight.

Dr. Rick :

Ok then, you had the best exam available. I would not expect him to have any damage from not wearing the glasses but if they help your son see better he will, after a while, want to wear them. I don't think that NOT wearing them would damage his eyes (cause amblyopia) since he doesn't have that much astigmatism, but -- if I was in your shoes -- I think I'd try to get my son to wear the glasses

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Dr. Rick :

I thought it was very difficult to get in to see a specialist like a pediatric ophthalmologist in the UK.....Good Job!

Customer:

Kind of, but why wear the glasses? My problem is that if he starts to wear the glasses then he'll become too reliant on them! You can see any doctor in the UK no problem but sometimes it's a little like a production line!

Dr. Rick :

That is a good point, however, he does have astigmatism that the glasses will correct and that will give him much, much better vision. It is not like he will be "dependent" on them, he really has a condition that will be improved by them. Also, as he gets older I would expect him to develop more myopia and astigmatism. Wearing the glasses will not cause him to become more myopic or have have more astigmatism as he gets older....it will just afford him better vision.

Customer:

It's crazy isn't it, I don't want to screw up my son's eyesight and i'm thinking about going against the doctors advise. I think it's because when I was a teenager my sister & myself had exactly the same eye test presctiption (pretty minor), she chose to wear glasses I did not, over the years her sight got very bad and mine loads better and I only need glasses now for reading (i'm 46). I sound nuts don't I.

Dr. Rick :

Since you have astigmatism (and maybe your husband wears glasses) your son has the biology to end up wearing glasses. There is nothing that can be done to change this fact. Some studies in the past did show that some treatments decreased the amount of myopia a child had as they grew up, but the results are not widely accepted by experts

Dr. Rick :

No, but basing your decision on what you noticed to have happened with you and your sister would not qualify as a good scientific study :)

Dr. Rick :

I'd follow the doctors advise for now, go back for a follow up exam in six months or so, see how things have or have not changed over that time period, discuss your feelings and concerns with the expert (the pediatric ophthalmologist) and see what he says and how you feel about it. 6 months with glasses shouldn't doom your son to a lifetime of buying expensive frames......

Customer:

Oh I know and I do apologise, I don't want to get this decision wrong and I know I must sound silly. I can only thank you for your advice.

Customer:

I forgot to say - very appreciated.

Dr. Rick :

Your a mother.....you don't sound silly. I put up with my wife through 5 of these little munchkins -- and you'd be surprised at the things I thought my kids were dying from that caused me to pin my colleagues down in the hospital hallway for a private "emergency" consult. It is all part of being a parent.

Dr. Rick :

And they've all lived to adulthood and turned out fine. It has been a pleasure to help you. Have a great afternoon

Dr. Rick :

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