As a parent, one of the most important things in life is ensuring the happiness and well-being of your baby. You do your best to make sure they have everything they need, but it can be difficult at times to know if something is wrong, especially when it comes to a vision problem. Because they cannot speak, they can’t come right out and tell you that they are having trouble with their vision. But luckily there are some other ways to discover if there might be a problem with their eyesight.
Common Vision Problems in Infants
Before understanding the signs of a vision problem, it’s important to know some of the most common conditions that affect infants and children.
- Refractive errors – in which light does not focus correctly on the retina. This usually results in blurry vision, causing kids to have difficulty seeing things up close (farsightedness), far away (nearsightedness), or both (astigmatism).
- Lazy eye (Amblyopia) – a disorder that occurs when the eyes and brain do not work together properly, causing the brain to favor one eye. This can cause blurred vision, poor depth perception or one or both eyes to drift in and out.
- Strabismus – a condition in which the eyes are not lined up properly, leading them to point in different directions. This can cause a child to experience double vision, or seeing an object in two different places at the same time.
- Blocked tear duct – which occurs when the eye’s drainage system for tears is obstructed. Tears cannot flow properly, often leading to an irritated or infected eye.
There are, of course, many more conditions that can cause a vision problem in an infant. Disorders such as pediatric glaucoma or pediatric cataracts are more rare, but they can result in difficulty with vision and can even lead to vision loss. These issues and more can be discovered during your child’s eye exam.
Signs to Watch Out For
So the question is, how do you determine if your child is experiencing a vision problem if they can’t tell you? Apart from an eye exam, any of the following symptoms can indicate a possible reason to be concerned:
- Eyes that look like they are crossed or looking in different directions (after the first month or two)
- Unable to follow an object with both eyes
- Excessive watering
- Head tilting or turning to one side
- Extreme sensitivity to light (after the first month or two)
- Frequent crust in either eye
- Drooping eyelids
- Eyes look cloudy
- Eyes that flutter or move back and forth
- Frequent squinting
When to Visit the Eye Doctor
It is important to establish good habits right from the start for regular eye exams for your child. They are extremely valuable for maintaining your child’s healthy vision throughout their life. Of course, if you ever have any concerns at all about a vision problem, visit your eye doctor immediately. But as a rule, the recommended ages for eye exams for children are 6 months, 3 years old and before kindergarten. Following that, they should be performed yearly after age 5.
At Family Vision Development Center, we provide thorough, professional care to all members of the family in our friendly Aurora location. We specialize in vision therapy services for kids of all ages and are here to answer all of your questions regarding your child’s vision. Contact us at 630-862-2020 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.
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