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Studies suggest that nearly 6.8% of children younger than 18 years suffer from vision-related problems. Vision is crucial to learning as well as one’s the child’s self-confidence too. And hence, hampered vision during the growing years can affect the child’s overall development in ways more than one. Children’s eye care is an integral responsibility of parents to help
Common eye problems in children
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Also known as lazy eye in children, this is a condition where both the eyes do not develop normal vision. Due to this, there is an abnormality that is caused in the visual region of the brain and it impacts the child’s visual acuity. If detected early, this condition responds very well to treatment.
Refractive errors (Farsightedness, Nearsightedness, Astigmatism)
This is the most common form of visual error experienced in children. Farsightedness is when the child can see objects at a distance clearly but has a poor vision of near objects. Nearsightedness is its exact opposite. Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea has an imperfect curve which causes it to focus unevenly on two objects instead of one. Regular kids’ eye exams help identify these conditions at an early stage and can be easily corrected with spectacles.
This is a condition where the child experiences excessive tearing. It is usually detected at the time of birth, but may also be developed later. The cause of this condition is usually due to the blockage of the child’s tear drainage system. This condition is generally treated with eye sac massage and teardrops. However, if the condition persists, it may require surgical intervention.
When a child starts seeing double positions of objects, it could be due to a condition called diplopia or double vision. The cause of this condition can be many. And the object which is seen double can be displaced horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally at times. Treatments include prism glasses, strabismus surgery.
Genetic Eye Disease:
Certain vision problems are genetic in nature. If the child inherits a genetic abnormality, it is essential to detect this condition at an early stage.
A cataract is a condition where the lens starts becoming opaque and inhibits clear vision. Cataracts usually occur at an older age due to the oxidation process that is part of the natural aging process. However, they can sometimes occur in children too. Symptoms include a white, opaque area in the pupil or misalignment of vision. Early detection can help restore vision in children. Significant impairment of vision may need surgery.
Glaucoma includes a condition where the pressure inside the eye is higher than what it should be. This pressure can damage the optic nerve. And if ignored, it can also cause permanent loss of vision. Although rare, always be vigilant of your child’s eye for symptoms like tearing, frequent blinking, sensitivity to light, a cloudy cornea, etc.
Pediatric Ptosis (Drooping Eyelid)
The drooping eyelid condition can take place in adults as well as children, when children develop this condition it is developed during childhood or even congenital. Ptosis occurs when the eye muscles have become weak and as a result, they start drooping. If untreated, this condition can lead to various other complications like astigmatism, amblyopia, or sometimes even a permanent loss of vision.
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
Strabismus is a case of misalignment of the eyes. The eyes may be titling upwards, sideward, or downwards. It can occur in both children and adults. A patient can often experience conditions like diplopia, blurry vision due to astigmatism, or even amblyopia as a result of strabismus. Treatments of this condition may include spectacles, prism surgery, Botox injections, or eye patching therapy.
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
Sometimes, premature infants may develop a condition where the blood vessels of the retina develop abnormally. ROP is a progressive disease that can start with mild to severe visual impairment. If detected early, the treatment can have spontaneous effects. Severe alteration of vision may even need laser treatment of injecting medicines into the eyes.
Symptoms of eye problems in children
- Indoor and outdoor Light sensitivity
- Avoiding activities that involve coloring, puzzles, and strong details
- Covering one or both eyes
- Droopy or misaligned
- Looking at the television or books too closely
- Squinting or overcorrecting their eyes when looking at objects
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Turning one or both eyes in and out
- Tilting their head too often
- Clumsy behavior, lack of coordination
How can you protect your child’s sight?
Protecting your young one’s eyesight requires carefulness right from the stage of conceiving.
- Eat the right food. Nutritious meals like fruits vegetables and nuts are extremely beneficial to the child’s eye development.
- Be vigilant of unusual developments in your child’s behavior. If you notice behavior like blinking the eyes too often, rubbing the eyes, etc.
- Keep the child away from digital screens as far as possible in order to avoid any digital eye strain.
- Bring toys that aid in the visual development of the child.
- Protect your child from harmful UV radiation when outside.
- Give your child appropriate protective gear while playing any sport, so that it doesn’t harm his eyes.
- Have your infant’s eyes examined regularly.
Guest Post by Aaron Barriga
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.