Vision issues affecting people of all ages. However, there are some vision issues in children that are more common than others. Here’s what you need to know about them, including how they are treated.
Also known as lazy eye, this condition is especially common in kids and occurs when their vision doesn’t develop properly. It usually happens because either one or both eyes are unable to form a strong link to the brain, meaning that messages aren’t transmitted or interpreted correctly. In most cases, amblyopia only affects one eye. As a result, the child relies much more heavily on their ‘good’ eye, and this can put their good eye under strain.
One of the trickiest things about amblyopia is that it doesn’t cause any real symptoms. Younger children may not even fully realize that they are affected, while older children may start to develop problems with reading, writing, or watching television. Fortunately, lazy eye is usually detected during routine eye exams and this is one reason why it’s important to regularly take your child to see your eye doctor from about the age of three. It’s difficult to treat amblyopia after a child reaches six years of age, so the earlier it is detected and treated, the better.
Fortunately, it is possible to treat amblyopia. This normally takes place in two stages. The first focuses on removing any blockages, such as a childhood cataract that could prevent enough light from entering the eye and correcting any refractive problems such as long or short-sightedness. After this, a patch can be placed over the stronger eye to encourage the child to use their weaker eye, which will help to strengthen the muscles and improve your child’s vision.
This condition is characterized by having one eye that looks straight ahead, while the other appears as though it is looking in a different direction. It’s also sometimes referred to as a squint. It is particularly common in young children, although it can occur at any age. Squints are unlikely to correct themselves, so treatment is needed to ensure that your child doesn’t experience vision problems such as double vision in the future.
There are several different treatment options for strabismus. These include:
These are recommended if the squint is caused by a problem such as being long or nearsighted.
These can help to build strength in the muscles that control eye movements, and this will enable them to work better together.
In some cases, injections are used to weaken the eye muscles so that the eyes move into better alignment, but the effects are usually short-lived.
If all other treatments are ineffective, surgery may be needed to move the muscles that control eye movement so that the eyes line up correctly.
Conjunctivitis is an extremely common eye condition that occurs when the transparent membrane that lines your eyelid and covers the white part of your eyeball, called the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed or infected. You may hear it called ‘pink eye’. Kids are especially likely to develop conjunctivitis.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis include red/pinkness of the eyes, pus that sticks to your child’s eyelashes or sticks their eyes closed when they wake up in the morning, itchiness, and eye pain. There is a range of things that cause conjunctivitis, from viruses and bacteria to allergic reactions, and your eye doctor will work with you to try and discover the cause of your child’s conjunctivitis.
Some types of conjunctivitis are highly contagious, so if your child has this type, it’s important to be particularly careful when helping them with treatment. They will also need to stay home from school until their conjunctivitis has gone. Your eye doctor will let you know the best way to treat your child’s conjunctivitis based on the type that they have. This may involve antibiotic eye drops, artificial tears, and cold compresses. Eyelid cleanliness is essential, and they will explain how to keep your child’s eyes clean until the condition clears.
For more advice on common vision issues in kids and treating them, don’t hesitate to speak to our dedicated eye care team at Five Forks Vision in Simpsonville, SC. You can also call our office at (864) 392-8200 today to schedule an appointment!