Eye problems in children can vary from communicable diseases such as the dreaded and well known "pink-eye" to the easily corrected, minor inherited problems affecting your child's ability to see up close or at a distance.
Basic eye screenings are routinely performed by the doctor at your child's yearly exam. Some schools will do initial screenings as part of preventative care. In the meantime there are things that you can do to watch for eye problems in your child.
If In Doubt Make the Appointment
If a child has vision problems that goes untreated this may lead to more serious problems. Vision problems can affect more than the child's immediate situation, they can also affect learning ability and lead to problems adjusting in school.
One is the lazy eye, medically known as amblyopia. This can sometimes be monitored by closely watching your child's eyes.
Another common problem is crossed eyes, medically known as strabismus. This is a problem that can lead to "lazy eye syndrome" if it doesn't get treated.
Color blindness is another common eye problem that is frequently difficult to confirm. Color blindness doesn't necessarily mean that your child can't "see colors" it actually means that they don't see a difference between some colors.
Other problems that a parent may notice but can definitely be diagnosed by an eye doctor are nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Some babies have eye problems that develop right after birth. Premature babies can develop retinopathy due to changes in the blood vessels within the eye. Retinopathy can cause permanent vision problems.
So what should parents look for in their children to watch for eye problems?
- Eyes that do not move in sync with each other
- Red or swollen eyes or eyelids
- Persistent rubbing of the eyes
- Closing or covering one eye when they are trying to look at something
- Holding a book close to their eyes in order to see better
- Complaining of things being fuzzy or just hard to see
- Squinting a lot when they try to see things
- Complaining of headaches when they spend a lot of time doing homework or reading
If you think that your child may be having difficulties seeing, don't hesitate to make an appointment with the eye doctor and get them checked out. Also make sure to talk to your child frequently about his or her eyesight. Observe if they seem to have difficulties with their eyes when they are reading.