A few months old infant with normal vision can clearly see the objects that are far as well as those close by. A one-year old toddler can focus and reach out for both near and far-away objects with co-ordinated movements of eyes and hands. The development of colour vision is also complete by the end of one year. Normal vision enables the child to progress rapidly in the process of learning.
Some children might develop vision problems during the developmental years while in some they might be present from birth. A poor eyesight not only affects the learning process but can also have a deep psychological effect on the child.
Some of vision disorders commonly seen in children include:
1. Vision tracking problems or disorder in focussing vision
2. Conditions causing eye disease symptoms
3. Preseptal or orbital cellulitis: This is an infection in and around the eye due to trauma, respiratory tract infection, etc. The condition may occur in one eye with swelling, severe pain on movement of the eye and decreased vision.
4. Blocked tear duct: A blockage in the glands that secrete tears leads to improper drainage of tears. The condition is commonly present in new born babies with frequent watering eyes.
5. Severe conditions causing poor eyesight that may lead to loss of vision include retinopathy of prematurity, congenital effects, diabetic retinopathy, cancer (retinoblastoma), etc. Glaucoma is an emergency condition in which the pressure in the eye is very high and can lead to permanent blindness in the child if not treated in time.
Eyesight problems in children can be highly disabling in the early years of learning. Only a few children undergo regular examination of eyes for vision problems. Certain conditions leading to poor eyesight in children can be corrected with suitable measures. Detection of vision problems at an early age increases the chances of correction and recovery. It is essential that every child undergo annual eye-check-ups to rule out conditions that lead to vision problems.
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