Vision Problems In Children: Learn How To Identify And Correct Them
Eyesight is the entry of a child to a whole new world. Poor eyesight can play spoil sport to the child’s learning and growth.
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.
Vision problems in infants
Some of vision disorders commonly seen in children include:
1. Vision tracking problems or disorder in focussing vision
- Amblyopia or lazy eye: The child experiences poor vision in one or both eyes. It commonly arises due to a squint in eyes. The child has blurred vision in one eye with an abnormal position of the eye. The child uses the normal eye that has clear focus to look at an object.
- Strabismus or squint: Here, the abnormal eye looks in a different direction as compared to the normal eye, which looks straight ahead. This may lead to double vision as both eyes are focussing on two different objects.
- Myopia (near-sightedness): Objects far away appear blurred whereas near objects are clear. A high degree of myopia in children is commonly inherited from family members.
- Hyperopia (far-sightedness): Objects near to the eye appear blurred and far away objects are clear. Some kids have hyperopia right from birth.
- Ptosis: Here, the upper lid tends to droop down such that it almost blocks the vision in one eye.
- Cloudy eyes or cataract: The lens inside the eye is hazy and gives a cloudy appearance to the eye, leading to poor vision. It can be corrected with surgery at an early age.
2. Conditions causing eye disease symptoms
- Conjunctivitis or pink eye: An inflammatory condition of the eye due to infection gives rise to a pink colour in the eye. The margins of the eye appear red. There is pain, swelling, itching and discharge from the eye. Conjunctivitis due to a viral infection commonly spreads rapidly to the normal eye and from affected child to others, affecting entire families.
- Chalazion: An infection in the oil secreting gland (Meibomian gland) in the eyelid gives rise to a swelling or a lump on the eyelid due to blockage of the gland outlet.
- Stye: A small painful swelling at the outer border of the eyelid due to infection in the eye lash leads to a stye. It can be mildly painful and red.
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.
Regular screening for sight issues is vital in children
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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