Every experience a preschooler has is an opportunity for growth and development. Parents should closely watch their toddlers for any delays in development, as they may signal eyes issues. Toddlers with vision problems often face difficulties in recognizing shapes, colors, letters and numbers. It is when a child develops visual abilities it will need in school and throughout its life. Read this blog to learn more about vision and eye health of toddlers and how you can spot the telltale signs of vision problems.
How Is My Child’s Vision Affected?
The clarity and health of the eye lens determine whether your toddler has good vision and eye health. Prolonged exposure to digital screens and an unhealthy diet impact eye health negatively. Here are some of the most common vision and eye health problems that affect children –Myopia (Nearsightedness)
Myopia (nearsightedness) causes blurry vision of distant objects. It is often hereditary and begins after age four when the eyes grow rapidly. Corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses are used to correct it and it is noted on the optical prescription by a negative sign.Astigmatism (Incorrectly Curved Cornea)
When the eyeball is not perfectly round, it leads to astigmatism. Light entering a normal eye is bent evenly for clear vision, but a curved cornea or eyeball causes it to bend more in one direction. Since the light does not focus on the retina properly, it leads to blurry vision, especially at a distance.Anisometropia (Unequal Refractive Power in Both Eyes)
Anisometropia occurs when vision in one eye is different from vision in the other eye due to refractive error. Headache or dizziness are a part of its symptoms, and corrective lenses can be used to correct it.Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Amblyopia is a type of poor vision that occurs in just one eye and is less common in both eyes. There is a breakdown in how the brain and the eye work together, and the brain cannot recognize sight from one eye. The doctor may advise your child to use eye drops or wear an eye patch to retrain the brain and force it to use the weaker eye.Strabismus (Squint/Cross Eyes)
The most common form of strabismus is called “cross eyes”, and it occurs when both the eyes do not line up in the same direction. The two eyes, thus, do not look at the same object. Treatment may include glasses, patching, medication or surgery.
What are the Warning Signs of Eye Health Issues in Your Child?
Early detection of vision and eye health problems has a better chance of being treated successfully.
- Up to One Year of Age
A baby older than three months should follow an object, like a toy, with their eyes as it moves across their line of sight and have stable vision. Most babies’ eyes occasionally look misaligned before four months. However, inward crossing or outward drifting after four months is usually abnormal.
Since eyes issues like Amblyopia may have no warning signs, you must get your child’s vision checked regularly. Some tests can check your child’s vision even before they can read. Get in touch with your ophthalmologist for more details.
- Older Children
If you notice any of the below eye health issues, let your child’s doctor know –
- Eyes that look crossed, turn out or don’t focus together
- Eyes that often appear overly sensitive to light
- Greyish white or white color in the pupil
- Drooping eyelids and watery eyes
- Eyes that flutter quickly up and down or from side to side
- Crust or pus in either eye or dry eye
- Eye pain, discomfort, itchiness or redness
Learning Disabilities and Vision Problems in Children
Though learning disabilities are not vision problems, learning-related vision problems and learning disabilities may coexist. Seek help if your child –
- Frequently showcases poor handwriting
- Constantly behaves inappropriately in social situations
- Reverses letters while reading or writing
- Does not verbally express itself
- Has difficulty with writing or math
- Consistently mistakes his right for his left or vice versa
Why Regular Eye Examinations are Important
Whether in the classroom or at home, school requires intense vision involvement. Vision and eye health issues may make it difficult for your child to concentrate and learn. Regular eye health examinations are vital for your child’s overall development. An ophthalmologist can spot any vision and eye health issues early on. The earlier your child is treated, the better it will be.
As children grow, their eyes change quickly. Get an eye health exam every two years to spot any vision and eye health problems early. Since many eye health conditions are hereditary, know your family history. Ensure your child wears protective gear while playing outdoors and cleans their hands regularly to avoid the risk of infections like pink-eye. Finally, ensure your child eats a healthy diet and maintains the optimum weight to stay healthy overall. Taking care of your child’s eyes in childhood may lead to a lifetime of eye health.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.