There are several eye conditions that can affect kids from a young age, and early diagnosis is essential to start treatment as soon as possible and reduce the risk of developing a serious condition that may permanently affect vision. The following are the most common vision problems affecting infants and young children, named by Davis Vision and Healthy Children.
The most prevalent conditions in school-age children are nearsightedness and farsightedness. In the case of the first, the child may struggle to see the blackboard; in the second, he or she may find it difficult to focus on the text of a page. As kids are often unaware that their vision is less than perfect, it is important to rule out both through regular comprehensive eye exams.
A bigger issue in infants and preschoolers is alignment of the eyes, which leads to the inability to use eyes together and therefore focus properly. This condition is called strabismus and becomes apparent when one eye seems lazy, turns in or out, or is higher than the other or when both eyes turn inward.
Misalignment up to the age of four months is normal, but if the condition persists after this age, you should visit your eye doctor. It is important to correct alignment as early as possible to allow vision to develop properly and avoid amblyopia.
Should amblyopia develop, one eye will be unable to see as well as the other. Two unconnected images appear in the brain, but the mind only uses the image of the stronger eye, leading the weaker eye to become underdeveloped. If your optometrist detects amblyopia in its initial stages, the problem can often be corrected with glasses.
Another issue that is common in infants is the inability to track a moving object. If you notice that your baby is struggling to follow movement after the age of three months, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.
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