Children are vulnerable to many eye problems as they grow older. This is why it’s very important to ensure your child’s healthy vision, as eye problems can impact their ability to do everyday things like playing, reading, writing, and others.
Here are a few of the most common eye problems in children:
Medically referred to as amblyopia, it is a condition in which the brain is not able to process signals from one eye and gradually starts ignoring them. As a result, vision development of the weaker eye becomes impaired leading to vision problems later in life. Symptoms of lazy eye include:
- eye wandering
- poor depth perception
- head tilting
Amblyopia can be treated using eye glasses, eye patches, eye drops and in some cases, surgery.
Chalazion is a swelling on the lower and upper eyelid due to blockage of an oil gland. When it gets infected, the swelling spreads to the entire eyelid. It can grow and cover the child’s pupil, causing pain and vision problems. A small sized chalazion may go away on its own after a few months but infected ones require treatments using eye drops and even surgical drainage.
Astigmatism/ Near-sightedness/ Far-sightedness
Collectively known as refractive errors, these are the most common eye problems in kids and adults and are brought about by abnormalities in the eye surface which prevent light from going to the retina. Treatment is usually prescription glasses or lenses.
Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned and are pointing in different directions when focusing on an object. Some kids may be born with this condition while others develop it as they grow older. Treatment includes wearing of eye patches or eye glasses, and doing some eye exercises.
This is an eye condition in which the child frequently has watery eyes. This may be due to blockage of the tear ducts, allergies, infection or diseases affecting the ocular surface. If it doesn’t go away in a few months, your doctor may treat it with eye drops or even a minor surgery.
With cataracts, the eye appears cloudy, leading to blurred vision. If not treated right away it can lead to blindness. Early detection and treatment are a must. A pediatric eye specialist will suggest a treatment based on the cataract’s severity, and most will require surgery.
Medically known as conjunctivitis, pink eye is a condition in which the white part of the eye is infected and becomes red in color. It is very itchy and is also contagious. It goes away when treated with antibiotic eye drops.
Signs Your Child May Have Vision Problems
Vision problems in kids may not be early to detect at the onset. But the truth is, if vision issues are left undiagnosed or untreated, they can have long-term effects on your child’s eye health, which in turn will affect their schooling and self-confidence. Check your child for any of these signs:
- They close one eye when watching TV, reading or using their computer.
- They avoid activities like reading, computer use, sports and others.
- They rub their eyes frequently.
- They become sensitive to light.
- Their eyes tear up often.
- When reading, they hold the book very close to their face.
- They sit very close to TV.
- They tilt their head or squint to see better.
- They complain of pain in their eye or surrounding areas.
If your child shows one or several of these signs, an eye doctor can find out the underlying cause. It may be a good idea to schedule a Vision Express Eye Exam for your child as soon as possible.