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The American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) offers simple explanations for astigmatism. The term astigmatism means that the eye is shaped oval like a football instead of the normal round shape like a basketball. Infants often have small or even moderate amounts of astigmatism that may simply disappear and need no treatment. Children, ages one to three, who have large amounts of astigmatism will need to wear glasses. Others with only small amounts of astigmatism may not require glasses at all. Sometimes the astigmatism goes away by itself, but other times glasses are needed at an older age for reading and schoolwork. If the astigmatism is very large or greater in only one eye, glasses may be needed during all waking hours.

Glasses do no make astigmatism disappear, and they do not change the shape of the eye. Glasses only bend the incoming light to correct misshapen eyes. The eye undergoes natural slight changes in shape with age and astigmatism may increase or decrease in amount depending on the growth of the eye.

For more information, visit the AAPOS website at http://med-aapos.bu.edu.

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