Common vision problems in children

As parents, it seems we’re constantly dealing with sick children. Our kids come home from school with any number of aches, scrapes and sniffles, until it seems like we should be earning points on some sort of frequent visitors card at our doctor’s office. But one thing we don’t often think about is our children’s vision. Sure, kids sometimes need glasses, but other than that it’s pretty rare for them to experience any eye issues. But the thing is, it may not be as rare as one would expect. Good vision is a seriously important part of their development, so you should take any discomfort they bring to your attention seriously. If you notice your child squinting a lot or rubbing their eyes, you might want to bring them to the doctor. Here are a few of the most common vision problems children experience, so you can more quickly recognize some of the warning signs.

Lazy eye” is the common term for amblyopia, and it actually affects 3% of children. Basically, one eye has developed normally but the other is lagging behind. If you catch it early it can usually be corrected, through some mix of eye surgery, glasses, or training the lazy eye by patching over the stronger one.

Color blindness is another common eye issue in children, and it will show up when they’re quite young. It’s usually hereditary, and it means your child does not have the ability to distinguish colors, or can’t tell the difference between various color shades. Full color blindness isn’t treatable, and people just learn to deal with it. But partial color blindness can be treated with tinted contact lenses or glasses.

Conjunctivitis is a condition that basically every parent will have to confront at one time or another. Also known as pink-eye, kids often pick this up through contact with another kid at school who already has it. You’ll notice your child has either pink or red eyes, which often show some sort of discharge and crusting, and tend to burn or itch. Although it is incredibly contagious, it’s easily treated with an antibiotic ointment or drops.

One of the scariest eye issues children will face is the corneal abrasion. Half of all injuries to the eye happen while playing sports and much more commonly with teenagers or children than with adults. Accidents will happen, but do your best to keep cleaning supplies or sharp implements out of reach of young children to minimize the possibility. And when it comes to sports, try to get your kids to wear protective eyewear. They’ll probably fight you on it, but they could also thank you one day if they take a baseball to the face.

The most common issue would be some sort of refractive error. Nearsightedness, or myopia, is the one seen most commonly in school-aged children. With myopia, they’ll have issues seeing things in the distance clearly. Hyperopia is the opposite, with close objects appearing blurred or fuzzy. If your child is complaining a lot about headaches, eye fatigue or strain or blurred vision, chances are they have a refractive error. If your child does need glasses, don’t skimp on the style. They’ll probably be self conscious at first, so spring for the good stuff to help them adjust. You can pick up great frames like the Air optix aqua from GetLenses at a deep discount from store prices if you need some additional options.


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