According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, 1 in 4 children has an undetected vision problem.
Vision problems can affect a child's development, behavior, socialization, and academic progress. The sooner any eye problems are detected, the sooner they can be managed.
Keep reading to find out what to look for in your child's vision and what to do if you think there's a problem.
VISION PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN
There are many types of eye problems in children. Most of them are treatable with glasses, contacts, patching or, in some cases, surgery. Here are some common issues:
Nearsightedness and Farsightedness
Also known as myopia, nearsightedness keeps someone from seeing things far away. Hyperopia, or farsightedness, keeps someone from seeing things nearby. Glasses or contacts can usually correct these conditions.
An improper curve of the eye's cornea or lens can result in astigmatism. This is a refractive error in which rays of light don't hit the retina sharply. This can cause blurred vision. Glasses or contacts can help compensate for an uneven curvature.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
This condition—often affecting one eye—can be caused by astigmatism, refractive error, or crossed eyes. Left untreated, this can cause irreversible vision loss. Amblyopia is often treated with glasses, patches, eye drops, or surgery.
Strabismus is marked by a misalignment of the eyes. They may turn up, in, out, or down. Untreated, this can cause amblyopia. As with amblyopia, strabismus can be treated with glasses, patching, or surgery.
As children grow older, they take part in all types of activities. These activities—in particular sports—can result in an eye injury. If your child gets injured in some type of accident, be sure to have their eyes checked to rule out an issue stemming from the injury.
CATCH EARLY WARNING SIGNS
Children and teenagers don't often verbalize what they're experiencing with their vision. In fact, they may not even realize that their experience thus far has been abnormal. You need to know what to watch out for that may signal a vision problem.
These are some of the common early warning signs you can watch out for in your children:
Rubbing eyes – this may be an attempt to clear blurry vision
Sitting too close to the TV
Difficulty reading (losing place, skipping words, low comprehension)
Squinting and sensitivity to light (even indoors)
Covering one eye when reading or watching a screen (may indicate a binocular vision issue)
Unusual colour or changes to the pupil
Eye pain or itchiness
Eyes that appear different
Don't line up with each other
Pupils of different sizes
If your child is school-aged, the school nurse or your child's teacher may come to you with concerns. Perhaps your child is having trouble seeing the board or reading books and worksheets. Conversely, if you are aware there may be a problem, ask your child's teacher if there are issues at school. Share these concerns during your child’s next eye exam.
RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS? SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT IN LANGLEY TODAY!
If you notice any of these early warning signs in your child, make an appointment with an optometrist at Langley Optometry as soon as possible. Many issues can come to light during a comprehensive eye exam. Be prepared to explain exactly what you've observed in your child to give the optometrist a full picture so we can prepare a customized treatment plan.
If you have concerns about your child's eyes or their vision, please don't hesitate to contact us to make an appointment today.