Refractive Error

 For life to be lived and enjoyed to the fullest, the importance of good sight cannot be overemphasised. The eye, arguably the most important sensory organ in the body works hand in hand with the brain to carry out this duty.


When light rays enter the eye, they pass through 2 major structures: the cornea and the lens to get to the retina (where the nerve responsible for sight is located) and from there visual information is passed to the brain for interpretation which then gives us what we see.
However, this is not always the case. Refractive errors occur as a result of the inability of the eye to focus images sharply on the retina giving rise to blurring of vision.
This is primarily due to alterations in the shape of the cornea and lens of the eye such that, the eye continues to develop but doesn't receive sufficient light stimuli necessary for proper development.
The most common types of refractive errors include myopia (shortsightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism.
Most refractive errors present with patient complaints like blurry vision, inability to see objects far away, headaches, tearing when reading and at times itching.
All refractive errors must be taken seriously and treated promptly especially in Children. This is because for the eye to develop fully it must receive enough light stimuli to keep it working. Failure of sufficient light to reach the retina for a prolonged period will result in the eye gradually becoming "lazy". In such a situation you'd see the lazy eye appearing out of normal alignment what we commonly call half-past four eyes. Most cases of lazy eye go unnoticed by many wards, as the vision in the other eye is nearly if not perfect. So the good eye covers up for the poor eye.
Hence, for an eye that has become lazy, the preferred medical treatment is to use eye-patches to cover the good eye. The idea here is to force the “Lazy eye” to work.
Parents and teachers are admonished to be especially watchful of their children and wards, because they're the ones who will note any odd behavior. For example, the child sitting too close/ squinting to watch the television, the child holding a book close to face to read, the child unable to see the blackboard whereas other children can, or the child with poor school performance.
Also, complaints of poor vision from a child should not be taken lightly, even if it appears to be because the child wants to wear glasses as he sees his fellow classmates doing. Let the child be taken to have a thorough eye examination to completely rule out any refractive error.
Treatments for refractive errors include the use of glasses, contact lenses and surgery. Thanks to recent technological advances, the option of surgery is also now available for people with high refractive errors.
There is also a wide range of frame choices to suit every face shape so no one is left un-catered for. More so, frames are now created to follow current fashion trends. For example, the cat-eye frames are all in-vogue this year, so also bold colors of frames such as red, animal print etc.
Also contact lenses exist to cater to patients’ unique needs, from hazel brown to dusk grey to turquoise blue.
It should be noted that uncorrected refractive errors is the leading cause of eye problem worldwide and the second leading cause of reversible blindness in the world.
Hence, the importance of a visit to the eye clinic cannot be overstressed. So that we all can all see the beauty of life.