There are many eye conditions and diseases that can affect a child’s vision. Healthy eyes and vision are a critical part of a child’s development and early diagnosis and treatment will be critical in maintaining their eye health. Some of the more common focus and alignment disorders and eye diseases are listed below. Children should have their eyes examined regularly to ensure early detection and treatment. It is important to ensure that their eyes are examined regularly because many eye problems and diseases can be detected and treated early.
Children may be diagnosed with refraction errors including myopia (near-sightedness), hypermetropia (far-sightedness) or astigmatism (blurred vision). Each of these can be corrected with glasses, which can be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor.
Amblyopia is another eye problem that refers to poor vision in an eye that has not developed normal sight. The condition is sometimes call “lazy eye” and it occurs when visual acuity is better in one eye over the other. Amblyopia can be cause by Strabismus (misaligned eyes). In this case, one eye may look straight ahead while the other turns in, out, up or down. Interestingly, the brain turns off signals from the misaligned eye to avoid double vision.
Parents are often the first to notice focus or alignment problems in the eyes in a young child, but often a teacher will be the first to notice signs that something is not quite right with their vision. There are a number of symptoms or signs that you should look for that could indicate that your child is experiencing eye problems:
1. Clumsiness due to a failure to notice new things around him or her.
2. A persistent need to squint when the light is not bright.
3. Rubbing eyes when not tired.
4. Excessive tearing that is unrelated to crying.
5. Recurring eye infections, swollen eyelids or sties.
6. Eyes that have bulging appearance, bounce or move in rapid regular movements.
7. Is constantly tilting his or her head to one side in order to see better.
8. Needs to cover one eye frequently in order to see better.
9. Holds books or toys too close or sits very close to the television.
10. Eyes that are mismatched, crossed or don’t move synchronistically.
If you notice any of these signs it could indicate eye problems and your child should immediately have their eyes examined. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to maintaining your child’s eye health. When eye problems are caught early, the condition can often be reversed or at least treated to prevent learning difficulties or progression of a serious disorder.