What are the common eye problems in kids and what are their symptoms?
As our kids grow from newborns to toddlers and beyond, it’s easy to take for granted the important role their eyes play in all they do in their lives.
The curiosity, wonder & adventure all lies in the sparkling eyes of a child.
Good vision is the key to progress. Increased workload, constant usage of computers, visual tasks along with nutritional deficiencies lead to eye health issues in kids.
It hampers the education & other co-curricular activities of a child when the vision is not functioning properly. Moreover, a child may not be able to tell about the vision problem for they assume the way they see is the way everyone sees.
Therefore, parents need to be alert for symptoms that indicate eye health issues in kids.
Lowered vision affects the way kids comprehend & the ability to learn. Lookout when your child complains of discomfort, fatigue, frequent eye rubbing, blinking, or has a frequent headache.
These signs are an indication of common eye problems in kids. It might get serious if left untreated in the long run. An early diagnosis can help prevent further visual problems.
6 Common Eye Health Issues in Kids and Symptoms
Recognizing and treating eye problems promptly is a key part of keeping your child thriving in his life.
Read on to learn about some common eye problems in kids and what you can do to keep your little one’s baby eyes in top shape.
Lazy eye (amblyopia)
Amblyopia happens when an eye becomes lazy when it doesn’t receive a clear picture of the other eye.
The most common causes of lazy eye are incorrect focusing power, crossed eyes & droopy eyelids (ptosis).
Lazy eye is not a problem with the eye but the connections to the brain. Amblyopia can lead to very poor eyesight & irreversible visual loss in the long run.
Early age treatment can help improve the vision.
- Blurred vision
- Poor depth perception
- Eyes that appear not to work together
- An eye that wanders inward or outward
One of the most common eye health issues in kids is farsightedness. Hyperopia simply means you can see things that are far away, but the close-up appears blurry.
In short, your eyes focus distant objects better than the nearby ones. Reading, writing, or computer work may put a strain on eyes & cause headaches.
Children with mild to moderate farsightedness can overcome with the help of glasses.
- Fatigue & headache during reading
- Hazy vision
- Trouble focusing on near objects
- A burning sensation around your eyes
Digital eye strain in kids
Also known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CSV), one of the biggest causes of eye health issues in kids is the frequent use of digital devices like computers, mobile phones, tablets, or laptops.
The usage of digital screens for a prolonged time, failing to blink as normal & holding a digital device too close to your eyes can lead to digital eye strain in kids.
The eyes and retina of a child are still in a developing stage.
That is why, long hours on computer may result in refractive errors. For children who are wearing glasses, this may lead to wearing high-power lenses.
- Sore, tired & burning eyes
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Sensitivity to light
- Watery or dry eyes
- Hazy vision
- Unable to keep eyes open for long
Misaligned eyes (strabismus)
Also known as turned eyes, squint, or crossed eyes, strabismus happens when both your eyes point in a different direction.
One eye may look straight while the other may point up or down. It can be present at birth or children can develop it later. Treatment is most effective when started at an early age.
Some of the treatments like wearing glasses, patching & exercises can help the eyes to align.
- Eyes that do not aim in the same direction
- Uncoordinated eye movements
- Crossed eyes
- Double vision
- Closing an eye to see better
The abnormal curvature in the cornea leads to decreased vision. Astigmatism is a condition in which your eye isn’t completely round.
It is a type of refractive error in which the eye doesn’t focus light evenly on the retina that leads to blurred vision at any distance.
It’s common to have astigmatism along with farsightedness or nearsightedness. This eye problem can be fixed with glasses or contacts.
- Distorted & wavy vision
- Constant strain on the eyes
- Trouble seeing at night
- Difficulty in reading
Droopy eyelids (ptosis)
Ptosis is one of the underlying eye conditions in kids which is often due to the problem in the main eyelid muscle.
Ptosis occurs when the upper eyelid droops down over the eye more frequently. As a result, the child may not be able to open one or both eyes normally.
If left untreated, ptosis can cause other poor vision development. If the eyelid droops are very low, it can be treated with surgery.
- Swelling or pimple-like bumps on the eyelid
- Difficulty in closing or blinking eye
- Droopy or sagged eyelids
- Extremely dry or watery eyes
- Aching & redness around the eyes
Tips for Prevention of Eye Health Issues in Kids
There are some simple tips which you can do to prevent eyestrain. The sooner you start, the less likely you’re to develop eye diseases.
- Encourage your child to play outdoors for at least an hour daily rather than watching television.
- Reduce the screen glare by adjusting the brightness of the device.
- Blink more often to avoid dry eyes.
- Take frequent breaks & sit two feet away from the computer screen to reduce eyestrain.
- Dry & polluted environments cause eyestrain. Make sure your child is sitting in a well-ventilated room.
- Place your laptop in a way the child looks down on the screen. This helps reduce dryness and itching.
- Avoid non-essential screen time to avoid digital eye strain in kids.
- Use eye drops for irritated & dry eyes.
- Get your child’s eye tested once every six months.
Nutrition Tips for Eye Health
Maintaining the eye health of your kid is the key to lowering vision problems in the future. Proper nutrition & diet can tackle eye health issues in kids. Read along to find some great foods to support eye health.
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, cabbage contain carotenoids that have antioxidant properties to ward off eye problems.
- Another kid-friendly brain-boosting food is nuts. Rich source of vitamin E & nutrients, pack along in lunches & munch on to reap more benefits. Besides nuts, peanut butter is also a favorite with children.
- Lentils are a good source of zinc which protects the structure of the eyes.
- Berries & citrusy fruits like orange, cherry, strawberry, blueberries are super healthy eye food packed with vitamin C. The antioxidants support proper retinal tissue.
- Start an eye-healthy breakfast with eggs. Rich in vitamin A, it helps prevent night blindness & dry eyes.
Vision problems can affect the learning ability & personality of your child. Therefore, it is essential to treat the vision problems at the earliest along with preventive measures & a balanced diet.
Parents please remember!
The nutritional tips mentioned in this post are not intended to replace optical and medical advice and you should always consult qualified professionals about a treatment plan that is right for your child.
I really hope this article would have given you some information on what vision problems can be and how to recognize them.
Since summer is here it’s a good idea to get your kids eyes checked to ensure those pretty little eyes keep enjoying looking around the world happily.
To find an eye doctor near you and for more interesting information (like how 1 in 4 children actually have undiagnosed vision-related conditions) you can visit Think About Your Eyes and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
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Deepti Gupta is a mom blogger who shares her views, experiences, and tips for raising happy and healthy kids through her blog. She welcomes parents to join this journey called delightful parenting and make life memorable for both parents and kids. Other than that she likes to watch shows with her teen kids and spread connect with parents through Instagram.