The Top 3 Causes of Vision Problems in Children

Many kids participate in vision screenings while at school. A school vision test can determine if your child is likely to have vision problems, but it's not designed to provide a full assessment of your child's eye health.

Regular vision assessments with an optometrist are highly encouraged – and at select Advantage Dental+ locations in Alabama, you can experience the convenience of having your child’s eye and dental appointment during the same visit!

Here we cover the top 3 eye problems in kids and how to help your child have a lifetime of healthy eyesight.

1. Blurred Vision (Refractive Errors)

Blurry vision may be caused by:

  • Farsightedness (blurry nearby objects)
  • Nearsightedness (blurry distant objects)
  • Astigmatism (blurry vision at all distances)

A child's blurred vision is often corrected with prescription eyewear.

2. Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)

Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is a condition where the eyes are not aligned. This means that the child's eyes aren't working as a team to clearly view an object. One eye may look inward or outward, or upward or downward.

Some children are born with strabismus. This is referred to as "congenital strabismus". If a child has strabismus, they may have a problem controlling their eye muscles.

To treat crossed eyes, a pediatric optometrist may begin treatment with prescription eyeglasses or with an eye patch. The eye patch will force the use of the misaligned eye until the child can see normally. If your child is diagnosed with crossed eyes, it's important to get the problem eye corrected before your child reaches 8 years of age.

3. Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)

With amblyopia or Lazy Eye, one eye is out of focus or misaligned and vision doesn’t develop the way it should. If left untreated, the child's brain will learn to ignore the image coming from the weaker eye. Over time, this can cause permanent vision problems.

Amblyopia generally develops from birth up to age 7 years. Treating the condition early or before the child reaches the age of 7 offers the best chance of successful treatment.

If your child has Lazy Eye, your pediatric optometrist may recommend an eye patch or medicated eye drops. Wearing a patch over the strong eye will force the brain to use the weaker eye, helping to correct the condition.

How Can I Help My Child Have Clear, Healthy Eyesight?

As a newborn, your child should receive an eye assessment while visiting a pediatrician.

A first eye exam is recommended at one year to evaluate development.

All children aged 3 and older should receive a complete eye exam once every one to two years. And, again at age 5 or 6 (before they start kindergarten).

Kids should visit their eye doctor every two years after the age of 6 or more frequently as advised by the pediatric optometrist.

During the exam, the optometrist will check your child's vision, examine their eyes, and check for vision problems.

What to do Between Eye Exams

In between your child's eye exams, parents should watch for signs of vision problems, including:

  • Change in the appearance of one or both eyes
  • Eye redness or swelling
  • Eye rubbing
  • Eyes not aligning
  • Frequent blinking or squinting
  • Headache complaints
  • Holding a hand over one eye
  • Holding a book close to the face
  • Sitting too close to the TV
  • Tilting the head to one side

If you believe your child has a vision problem, make an appointment with a pediatric optometrist soon.

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This blog is designed to provide general information and discussions about health and dental-related subjects. No doctor/dentist to patient relationship is established by your use of this blog or website. We are not providing any treatment or diagnosis on this blog, and it is not intended to offer specific dental or medical advice to anyone. The information or other content provided in this blog is not a substitute for professional dental expertise or treatment. We will do our best to provide you with information that will help you make your own healthcare decisions, however no guarantees or warranties are made regarding any of the information contained within this blog. If you have questions about any of the information presented on this blog, you should consult with your dentist. The dentists at Advantage Dental+ are licensed to practice in the states of Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas and this blog is not intended to solicit patients from other states. External links may be provided on this blog as a service and convenience to our patients and other visitors to our blog. These external sites are created and maintained by other public and private organizations, and we do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance or timeliness of any outside information.

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Gary Allen, DMD, Advantage Dental Group, P.C. | James Thommes, DDS, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Massachusetts, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health And Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Oklahoma, P.C.; Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Texas, P.C. | Cory White, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | John Clasen, OD, Advantage Dental Oral Health and Vision Center Of Alabama, P.C. | Neil Williams, DMD, Advantage Dental Oral Health Center Of Florida, PA