Eye issues in children can be categorized in two broad classes: refractive errors and non-refractive errors. The former refers to problems with focusing of light in the eye, due to problems with the lens. The latter refers to set of eye conditions and diseases that affect eye vision.
Short-sightedness or Myopia
In this condition, children are not able to see images at the distance, and thus are short sighted. This is the most common vision issue that occurs in children.
Long-sightedness or Hyperopia
Albeit very rare in children, hyperopia is a condition in which the child is not able to see things close to them but can properly see things at a distance. Children under the age of 7 have some degree of hyperopia.
Strabismus or crossed eyes
Strabismus refers to misalignment in the eyes, due to which they turn outward or inward. It can also then lead to lazy eye as well, compounding the issue. This condition is easy to detect, thus, if you see eyeballs of your child to be misaligned, immediately enlist the help of the best Eye specialist in Lahore, as if not treated well within time, vision loss might occur as well.
Due to problems with the curvature of cornea, eyes are not able to focus light correctly, thereby, impairing vision.
Commonly known as lazy eye, Amblyopia is a condition in which vision from one eye is not proper, due to underlying issues like crossed eyes. Consequently, brain ignores visual images from that eye. If not treated in time, it can lead to complete vision loss in the affected eye.
Glaucoma is a congenital eye disease. In it, the drainage mechanism of the eye canal is impaired or not developed properly, which then leads to pressure building behind the eyes. This pressure then gravely affects the optic nerve, damaging it. If not treated in time, vision loss can also occur.
This condition is more common in newborn. In cataracts, clouding occurs over the lens, that makes it difficult for proper light to get through to the eyes, causing vision impairment in the child.
It is the cancer of the retina. It generally affects children under the age of 5. The affected eye, or eyes, may have vision loss, and the pupil may also turn white as well.
Some signs of eyesight issues in children
Eyestrain or headaches
In attempts to see properly, the muscles of the eyes are fatigued and thus suffer from strain as well. Eyestrain can also then cause headache. As the state of fatigue becomes perpetual for the eyes, unless vision is corrected, thus the episodes of headaches are frequent as well.
Poor hand-eye coordination
Due to vision problems, child may not be able to see well. Their spatial perception can also be altered as a result. Therefore, they might struggle to coordinate their hand movements with the sight. For example, they might have to struggle in games like catching the ball etc.
They may also seem clumsy to people around them, but it’s not clumsiness but rather their hand-eye coordination that’s the issue.
Alignment of the eyes
In case child has lazy eye, or problem with vision with an eye, it can lead to one eyeball veering off to the side. Consequently, the eyeballs do not align properly. This affect can be subtle, or very obvious as well.
Rubbing their eyes
Blurring vision or some fogging in the vision may cause the child to rub their eyes in futile attempts to clear them.
Sitting close to surfaces like screens
This is especially common in children who have short-sightedness. As they cannot see surfaces like board, television from far away, they have to sit closer to be able to properly see.
This can be of a great inconvenience for children who are school going and are unable to communicate their inability to completely see the board. Their performance is also then affected as a result.
Children might also have to pull their books closer to read as well. This makes it harder for them to fall into the habit of reading, and might also lose their place often, as they struggle to see and read at the same time.
Eye exams should be a regular in children
Eye exams should be a part of doctor’s checkup when your child is growing up. One should not wait for the signs of eye issues to manifest, as it will put the child through unnecessary ordeal.
The first eye exam is conducted at birth, when doctor checks for the health of the eyes in the newborns. Babies who are premature, have family history of eye problems and those with obvious signs of eye issues are also examined at birth by the eye specialists.
But these are not all the exams; all babies should have regular eye exam till the age of one. Moreover, toddlers –around 3 and a half years or so—should also get eye screening done alongside visual tests to see if their vision is developing perfectly.
Then, around the age of 5, children should have their vision and alignment of their eyes checked. After 5, screenings should be done regularly, and especially when there is a case of complaint by the child.
Children who get prescription glasses etc. are also to be taken to the best Eye specialist in Islamabad annually or so for any issues or changes of the vision.