Vision Issues in Children
Do you wonder if your child’s eyes are healthy? Unlike an adult, vision issues in children, especially young children, may be much harder to detect. Here is a list of a few of the most common vision problems that children face by age:
Ages 3 and under:
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes): If it seems as if your child’s eyes don’t look at the same place at the same time, your child may have a condition called strabismus. This condition is a result of poor eye muscle coordination or movement. In some cases, it may also be caused by extreme farsightedness (discussed below).
In many cases, Strabismus is treatable and fully correctable. Expect for your child to be prescribed eyeglasses, prisms, vision therapy or surgery on the eye muscles. Early detection and immediate treatment are the key to curing this condition that usually presents itself by age 3.
Ages 6 and under:
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye): A so-called “lazy eye” is really the result of a child’s inability to use both eyes together. Amblyopia is a loss of central vision development in just one eye. Your optometrist can prescribe vision therapy, lenses, and prisms to help a child retrain their eye to work properly, but the earlier this condition is detected, the more likely it is that it can be corrected.
This condition often presents itself in children by age 6, but detection by age 3 gives the best assurance for effective correction.
Nearsightedness (Myopia): The most common vision issue for school-aged children, nearsightedness can present itself at any time as your child’s eyes grow. Children suffering from myopia struggle to see objects that are far away, like a whiteboard at school. Those same children will have issues seeing a book or other object closer to their face.
Myopia can often be treated quickly and easily with a brand new pair of eyeglasses in your child’s prescription. Most children with myopia will need to wear glasses all of the time and may switch to wear contact lenses when they hit their teens.
Farsightedness (Hyperopia): Children are born with a slight case of hyperopia, or farsightedness, which fades as their ability to focus on items up close grows. In cases of more severe hyperopia, a child could develop amblyopia (see above) and lose their ability to control the eye muscles properly.
An optometrist can detect hyperopia through a full eye examination and make recommendations as to whether or not any type of treatment, or preventative treatment, is necessary. If not severe, a pair of reading glasses can easily be prescribed to help your child read or play on a tablet with less straining.