Common Pediatric Vision Issues
Vision problems affect 1 in 20 preschoolers and 1 in 4 school-age children. Many vision problems begin at an early age and, if left untreated, can worsen or lead to other serious problems. These include affected learning ability, personality, or adjustment in school.
We at Vistar Eye Center pride ourselves on our ability to provide specialized pediatric eye care to Roanoke, Salem and more! Some of the common vision problems that we see are listed below.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
Pediatric amblyopia, often inherited, is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood. This can be caused by any condition that affects normal use of the eyes and visual development such as misaligned eyes, nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and cataracts. Untreated pediatric amblyopia may lead to functional blindness in the affected eye. The brain “turns off” this eye and uses only the stronger eye because vision is very blurred.
Treatment options include:
- Patching one eye
- Atropine eye drops
- A new corrective lens prescription for nearsightedness or farsightedness
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes, Wall Eye, Wandering Eye, Esotropia, Exotropia, Hyperphoria)
Strabismus it is a visual defect in which the eyes point in different directions. One eye may turn either in, out, up, or down while the other eye aims straight ahead. It affects approximately 4 out of every 100 children in the United States. When one eye turns, two different pictures are sent to the brain. In a young child, the brain learns to see only the image from the straight or better-seeing eye, losing depth perception. In most cases, eyes that are not aligned can be straightened, even in adulthood.
A cataract is the progressive clouding of the normally clear lens inside the eye. In children, cataracts can occur in one or both eyes. They can be present at birth or develop overtime. If left untreated, pediatric cataracts can cause blindness.
Color Deficiency (Color Blindness)
Children with color blindness are not totally blind to color. Instead, they have trouble seeing the correct shades or red, green, or blue. Most individuals are born with colorblindness, but aren’t tested until the ages of 3-5. Colorblindness is often connected to difficulties in learning or reading.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an inflammation of the clear mucous membrane that covers the white part of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelid. It is the most common eye infection in the United States. Cases may vary from a mild redness with watery eyes to serious infections where vision is impaired or even lost.
Refractive errors cause decreased vision and visual discomfort from straining. Uncorrected refractive errors can cause amblyopia (Lazy Eye) particularly if they are severe or are different between the two eyes. The different types of refractive errors include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Many cases of refractive errors can be treated effectively with prescription glasses.
Retinopathy of Prematurity
Soon after birth, some premature infants develop changes in the blood vessels of the eye’s retina that can permanently impair vision. This a potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants weighing about 2¾ pounds or less and born before 31 weeks of gestation.
Retinopathy prematurity usually develops in both eyes and is the most common causes of blindness in children. If not treated early, it can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness.
Myopia is a condition in which the eyeball is too long for the normal focusing power of the eye, making distant objects appear blurred. This can be difficult to diagnose in young children who don’t understand the blurred vision.
- Treated with glasses or contact lenses
- Often inherited
- Children with family histories of Myopia should be examined early
In this condition, the eyeball is too short for the normal focusing power of the eye. In children, the lens in the eye can accommodate for this error and provide clear vision for distance and usually near viewing. In some cases, this causes fatigue or crossed eyes (strabismus).
- Begins in early childhood and usually corrects itself
- Most children are far-sighted early in life.
- Glasses are rarely needed.
- Glasses are prescribed if Hyperopia causes crossing of the eyes or for extremely farsightedness in one or both eyes
Astigmatism causes blurred or distorted vision at all distances. This is caused by either a misshaped cornea or lens. Patients with astigmatism usually see vertical lines more clearly than horizontal ones, and sometimes the reverse.
- Causes blurred or distorted vision at all distances
- Can usually be corrected with glasses or contact lenses
- Usually present at birth
- Warning signs include fatigue, headaches, and eye strain
Vistar Eye Center focuses on pediatric eye care because we want to help your little one see the world, contact us at any of our locations including Roanoke and Salem to schedule a consultation today!