Eye care of your children (Up to 12 years)
Do you know that as a child grows, his eyes and vision evolve? Give special attention to your child’s eyes to ensure the quality of his sight.
Your child’s vision problems are to be taken seriously. The earlier they are detected the faster they can be treated. Luckily, most common eyesight complications fade while the child grows and the eye develops, some even disappear. Unfortunately not all vision problems are self-healing. It is, thus, essential to detect them well to be able to take necessary actions.
Signs that may indicate a visual anomaly in children
You can detect some visual problems in your child. If they have one of the following signs, we recommend that you book an eye-test with your optometrist:
Common eye conditions in children
One eye looks straight ahead, while the other turns in, out, up or down. The brain receives two visual images as a result, so a person with a squint might experience blurred or double vision. A squint can be constant or intermittent and is usually detected during a routine eye examination. The eyes may cross when trying to focus on an object that’s near or far away. An outward-turning eye might be more pronounced with tiredness.
Early detection and treatment of strabismus and allows your child to regain good vision.
Color blindness consists of poor color perception, including red, green, and blue. Since it is difficult to detect, this anomaly cannot be treated. It is advisable to accompany the child and to explain to him his difference of perception of the colors.
Managing color blindness
This eye condition cannot be treated. It is thus advisable to make the child understand his difference of perception of the colors.
A child with myopia has difficulty seeing from a distance but has good near vision. This eye condition is caused by the eye being too long or too powerful and the image received is thus formed before the retina.
Myopia is corrected by wearing glasses.
Astigmatism is caused by an irregular shape of the eye. It causes a distorted vision where the child can confuse close letters such as D and O, or H and M.
Signs of astigmatism
Common but mild symptoms of astigmatism are blurred vision, headaches, eyestrain or reading difficulties.
You may also notice distorted near and far vision, unclear peripheral vision, inability to distinguish certain shapes and details, inability to see clearly between horizontal and vertical lines.
Astigmatism can be diagnosed at a routine eye examination. Prescription lenses will help improve your vision significantly, or could help slow the effects of astigmatism.
Amblyopia is a vision development problem in infants and young children that can lead to permanent vision loss.
Why does it happen? – Lazy eye results from other conditions that affect the sight:
- Squint (strabismus):Problems with the eye muscles lead to a misalignment of the eyes.
- Severe long or short-sightedness: An inability for one eye to focus properly can force the stronger eye to work harder, and the other to become ‘lazy’.
- Congenital cataracts: Usually present at birth, congenital cataracts in one eye may make a child’s vision in that eye appear cloudy, forcing the other to work harder.
Signs of amblyopia
There are no specific symptoms of lazy eye, but children tend to see less clearly with the affected eye. You might notice your child holding his or her head at an angle to see distant objects or may repeatedly cover one eye, or develop a habit of squinting.
Lazy eye is usually simple to treat, but it can take time. If unaddressed, the vision may be permanently compromised. Amblyopia can be diagnosed from around the ages of five or six. The underlying problem needs to be addressed – for example, prescription glasses can correct the focus of the weaker eye.
A child suffering from hyperopia sees poorly in near vision but well in far vision. This is caused by an eye which is too short of less powerful, the image is then formed behind the retina.
Efforts to accommodate the vision can create visual fatigue.
Visit your optometrist, appropriate lenses will solve the problem.
A solution for each eye condition
Your child needs to visit an optometrist as soon as he shows signs of poor vision. Appropriate lenses shall solve most problems.. The earlier the visual impairment is detected, the more likely it will be to treat.
If no treatment is effective, for example for color blindness, the child should be accompanied and listened to, while explaining that his or her disorder will not prevent him or her from living a normal life.