Learning to Spot Vision Problems in Children

January 5th, 2012by admin

Learning to Spot Vision Problems in ChildrenA new parent is full of worries. What if a baby won’t latch on for breastfeeding? Or what if formula makes him sick? How do you properly change a diaper? Are cloth diapers better than disposables? Is it normal for babies to cry all night? And should you let them fall back asleep on their own or cuddle them until they drop off to dreamland? These are the questions that plague all new parents, and the list of concerns will only grow until they become accustomed to the many demands and responsibilities of their new role. However, most parents are unprepared for the occurrence of vision problems in children, and as a result they may not recognize the signs until too late.

So here are a few tips to help you spot optical issues before they become a real problem.

It is important to realize that it could take up to eight months for your baby’s vision to reach the same strength as an adult. This is because a baby is born without a fully formed sense of vision; it continues to develop throughout their infancy. So if your baby seems to lack the ability to focus or see clearly in the first few months, it may not be cause for alarm. However, if you’re worried you should certainly contact your doctor for assurance or to schedule testing.

There are certain signs, though, that should not be ignored. For example, it is not uncommon for babies to be born with cataracts or develop them in the first few months or years of life. And luckily, they are easy to spot. If you notice any clouding in your child’s eye you need to see an ophthalmologist immediately. These growths will not simply go away and there are no pharmaceutical treatments. If they are not surgically removed they can damage your child’s vision permanently (by halting normal visual development). Luckily, the surgery is considered safe even for very young children, although they will likely have to be anesthetized to undergo the procedure.

Vision Problems in ChildrenAnother warning sign can come in the way of eyes that do not seem to align properly. When one eye is weaker than another (due to eye muscles that aren’t functioning properly or a pathway to the brain that is underdeveloped, for example) you will begin to see the signs. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, can usually be identified by one eye turning inward or outward, strabismus may cause crossed eyes, and nystagmus will result in one or both eyes appearing to tremble or shake. All of these symptoms tend to indicate weakness or vision loss, but all may be correctable with early treatment so that your child’s vision develops normally.

Of course, your child may simply suffer from common vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. While it may be a bit more difficult to identify these problems on your own, a visit to an eye doctor can either confirm or rule out the possibility. And if your child does have these problems, they’re often easy to correct with glasses or contact lenses (even small children may be good candidates for the latter). Whether you notice problems or not, it’s not a bad idea to have your child examined annually, so look for an eye health center in your area and make an appointment, especially if you think there are potential issues with your child’s vision.

This post was written by Evan Fischer. Evan is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. Evan is a contributing writer for EZ Contacts USA where you can find contact lenses and locate an eye health center close to your home.

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