We tend to think of declining vision as a problem of aging, and therefore overlook early signs of vision problems in children. However, refractive errors, such as nearsightedness (myopia), often begin in childhood. Because children’s eyes and brains are still developing, untreated vision problems in early childhood can lead to permanent vision loss. Unrecognized vision problems can severely hinder a child’s progress in school. Child eye care is an important part of your child’s overall health care.
Problems That May Be Reversed
Crossed eyes (strabismus) and lazy eye (amblyopia) are treatable. Left untreated they can lead to permanent vision loss. When the images from the eyes are not the same, the brain automatically chooses the best image and ignores the bad image. When your child’s brain is still developing, ignoring one eye interferes with the development of the brain’s ability to use that eye.
Nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism in children are corrected with glasses. Unfortunately, LASIK and other refractive surgeries are not an option because children’s vision does not stabilize until they have finished growing.
Regular eye exams are very important for children. Undetected vision problems can mimic learning disabilities or show up as behavioral problems.
Protecting Your Child’s Eyes
Protection from sun damage is especially important for children. Their eyes cannot block out damaging UV rays as well as adult eyes. Every time your child goes outside he should be wearing UV protective lenses. Damage to the lens of the eye does not go away.
Do not forget to find appropriate eye protection for whatever sports your child engages in as well.
If your child has not had an eye exam recently, please talk to an eye doctor near you and make an appointment today.