According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), an estimated one in five preschool children have some type of eye issue. Visual deficits can severely impact a child's ability to learn, comprehensive, and excel in school and life.
The AOA recommends your child's first eye examination be performed at 6 months in age and every 1-2 years thereafter.
*As a reminder, our office sees patients age 5 years and older.
Common Eye Conditions in School-Aged Children
Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a common refractive error in children that cuases difficult in seeing objects at a distance. It is increasingly prevalent among children, and its progression can have signifcant implications for their vision and daily activities. Children may struggle to read the board or see distant objects clearly. Appropriate corrective measures, such as glasses or contact lenses, may be recommended, as well as certain lifestyle modifications, such as spending more time outdoors and limiting screen time.
Hyperopia, commonly known as farsightedness, makes it difficult to see objects up close, while distant objects may appear clearer. In children, hyperopia can cause eyestrain, headaches, and even difficulty with school work, particularly tasks that require close-up focus such as reading or writing. Depending on severity, glasses or contact lenses can be prescribed to correct the refractive error.
Astigmatism is a common vision problem that can occur in children, where the cornea or lens of the eye is irregularly shaped (some may describe it as being "football-shaped"), resulting in distorted or blurred vision at ALL distances. Glasses or contact lenses may be prescribed to correct the vision.
Strabismus is a visual condition commonly found in children, where the eyes are misaligned or do not work together to focus on an object. This misalignment can occur in various directions: inward (esotropia), outward (exotropia), upward (hypertropia), downward (hypotropia). Strabismus can be present constantly or intermittently, and it may cause double vision, reduced depth perception, and difficulty with eye coordination. If left untreated, strabismus can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye), where the brain suppresses the vision in one eye. Early detection and intervention are crucial to prevent long-term consequences in visual development and overall functioning. Treatment for strabismus includes glasses, eye patches, vision therapy, or surgery.
Amblyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye", is a visual condition that predominantly affects children and occurs when one eye has reduced vision compared to the other (although there are cases where both eyes have reduced vision), usually due to an underlying issues such as strabismus (eye misalignment), refractive errors, or less commonly, eye diseases. The brain starts to favor the stronger eye, leading to underdeveloped visual pathways and limited binocular vision. If left untreated, ambylopia can result in permanent vision loss and impact a child's ability to read, participate in sports, and perform daily activities. EARLY DIAGNOSIS IS KEY to ensure effective treatment. Common interventions for amblyopia include patching the stronger eye to help stimulate and impve vision in the weaker eye, along with management of other underlying eye conditions. Vision therapy may also be recommended to improve eye coordination and strengthen vision is both eyes. With early detection, children with amblyopia can often achieve improved visual acuity, depth perception, and a better quality of life.
Anisometropia is a vision condition found in children where there is a significant different in prescription between the two eyes. This discrepancy can lead to imbalanced vision, causing one eye to have better visual acuity than the other. Children with anisometropia often experience symptoms such as blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches, and difficulties with depth perception. If left uncorrected, anisometropia can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye), in which the brain favors the eye with better vision and suppresses the input from the weaker eye. The most common form of managing anisometropia is through the use of glasses or contact lenses to equalize the prescription between the two eyes, thereby promoting balanced visual development and reduced the risk of amblyopia. Regular follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor the child's visino and adjust prescriptions as needed.