Good vision and healthy eyes are crucial for a child’s proper development, both cognitive and social. For instance, experts predict that 60% of all children who have reading difficulties actually struggle with vision problems. So, getting to know common eye issues in kids and how to identify them is the key to providing your child with good development and learning opportunities.
Common eye problems
There are several eye conditions that can affect children. Most can be detected by knowing their symptoms or with a simple acuity chart.
Red and dry eyes
Red and dry eyes, or popularly known as “Computer Vision Syndrome”, is something doctors see every day. Too much screen time playing video games and watching cartoons can cause eye dryness, redness and irritation. The best way to cure and prevent this syndrome is to limit screen time and start practicing the 20-20-20 rule. This means taking 20-second breaks every 20 minutes and looking into the distance, 20 feet away from the screen. This exercise relaxes the eye and restores the natural blinking pattern which lubricates the eyes and keeps them healthy. To help the eye return to its normal state, you can get over-the-counter eye drops that can provide added relief for irritated eyes.
Red eyes can also be caused by pink eye or conjunctivitis. This eye inflammation is caused by bacterial infection or allergies. Pink eye is also contagious since bacteria can easily spread from one kid’s hands to another kid’s hands and eyes. Pink eye therapy often includes prescription antibiotic drops, but the most important part of the treatment is frequent hand washing and keeping the eyes clean. If the infection isn’t serious, some over-the-counter drops can relieve the irritation.
Some kids have eyes that don’t bend the light properly which causes the image to appear blurry. Nearsightedness is the most common refractive error in school children, but farsightedness and astigmatism are also possible to develop.
Nearsightedness or myopia is a condition that causes poor distance vision. It is usually treated with glasses or contacts. On the other hand, there’s farsightedness or hyperopia that causes poor vision at small distances. It’s treated with glasses or contacts as well. Astigmatism is a bit different. It’s caused by an imperfect curvature of the eye which causes blurred vision or discomfort, but it can also be corrected with glasses.
Another eye problem in children is strabismus or misalignment of the eyes. In this case, eyes may turn in, out, down or up. If strabismus gets diagnosed early on, it can be fixed by patching the good eye, which makes the misaligned eye function properly. In some cases, specially designed glasses or even surgery are required to fix the alignment.
Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is the condition that causes poor vision in an eye that is perfectly normal. Conditions that usually stand behind amblyopia are crossed eyes and the difference in refractive error. Lazy eye can be quite dangerous since it can cause permanent vision loss in the affected eye if left untreated because the brain learns to ignore the signals coming from the “bad” eye.
The importance of regular eye exams
For instance, in Australia, every fifth child suffers from an undetected vision problem. That’s why it’s very important to make regular visits where the doctor can catch the problem in its early stage and tackle it while it’s small and easily corrected. Find a reliable clinic that can perform an eye test in Sydney and that will make sure your kid gets an accurate diagnosis. These tests are painless and quick and can be quite fun for kids.
So, as soon as you notice any of these symptoms, or your kid starts complaining about their eyes, don’t hesitate to visit a doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry.