Paula & Mireia
Creative Commons License photo credit: ToniVCHealthy eyes and vision are a critical part of your child’s development. It is important to ensure that their eyes are examined regularly because many eye problems and diseases can be detected and treated early. Children might experience a range of eye conditions and all of them will affect children in various ways while requiring individual treatment.

Along with adults, children may be diagnosed with refraction errors including myopia (near-sightedness), hypermetropia (far-sightedness) or astigmatism (blurred vision). All of these can be corrected by wearing glasses depending on the condition, which can be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor.

Other eye problems might include strabismus or squinting. This means that one eye is directed inwards or outwards relative to the other and may cause lazy eye due to the brain discounting the image for a squint eye. Abmlyopia (lazy eye) can be treated by patching the good eye and forcing your child to use their lazy eye. Monocular vision (one eye) and Nystagmus (rapid movement of the eye) are other conditions that can cause vision problems that reduce the visual field or make it difficult to focus or see clearly.

Parents are often the first to notice eye problems in a young child, but sometimes a school teacher will notice certain signs that something may a be amiss with a child’s vision. There are a number of signs that you should pay attention to that might indicate eye problems:

1. Clumsy and fails to notice new things around him or her.
2. Squints when the light is not bright.
3. Rubs his or her eyes when not tired.
4. Excessive tearing when not crying.
5. Frequent eye infections, swollen eyelids or sties.
6. Eyes that bulge, bounce or dance in rapid regular movements.
7. Tilts head to one side often to see better.
8. Often covers one eye to see better.
9. Holds books or toys too close.
10. Eyes that look mismatched, crossed or don’t move together.

If you notice any of these signs it could indicate eye problems and you should have your child’s eyes examined immediately so the problem can be treated. If caught early, eye conditions often can be reversed or at least treated to prevent learning difficulties or progression of the disorder.