Eye diseases can also affect children. However, since kids would hardly be able to articulate any symptoms they may feel, it will be difficult to detect whether or not they are suffering from an eye problem. The disease is often identified during eye medical check-ups in schools or with their pediatricians.
When your child is found to be suffering from any eye disease, you should bring him or her to an optometrist who will perform a complete eye exam. The results from the tests will enable the optometrist to give a full diagnosis and assess the extent of the problem.
Here are some common eye diseases in children you need to watch out for:
Myopia or nearsightedness is an eye condition wherein it is difficult to see things at a distance. Children suffering from myopia will be able to see things near their eyes clearly but will have a hard time seeing objects far from them.
Myopia is commonly caused by an eyeball that is slightly longer than usual. Normally, light rays focus directly on the retina. However, in children with myopia, the light rays focus in front of the retina causing them to see distant objects as blurred.
Eye glasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery are common treatments for this condition.
Hyperopia or farsightedness is an eye disease characterized by difficulty in seeing objects near the eyes while objects far from the eyes appear clear. It is usually genetic. Hyperopia is also due to a refractive error wherein the shape of the eye does not bend light correctly.
Eye glasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery are the prescribed treatments for this condition.
Astigmatism is an eye disease that occurs when the eye cannot focus light clearly onto the back of the eye or the retina. The cornea is shaped irregularly such that it is longer in one direction than the other. Objects tend to appear blurred from all distances. This condition often comes with myopia or hyperopia. Studies show that 2/3 of people with myopia also have astigmatism.
Astigmatism is usually treated with eye glasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery.
Amblyopia is an eye disease that occurs when one eye is weaker in focusing than the other. Vision loss occurs in the weaker eye because it is easier to focus using the dominant eye and the brain tends to ignore the weaker eye’s ability to process images.
If left untreated, amblyopia may result in total vision loss in the weaker eye. Thus, early detection and treatment are essential. An eye patch may be worn over the stronger eye to force the weaker eye to work in order to strengthen its development.
Strabismus is an eye disease that occurs when there is a misalignment between the eyes, causing them to focus in opposite directions or causing one eye to wander. Each eye then produces a separate image. A child might develop amblyopia when the brain tries to shut out the image received from one eye in favor of the other eye.
This condition is characterized by crossed or wandering eyes. Newborn babies frequently have wandering eyes but that is normal. Strabismus is only observed after 3 months of age. Surgery may be performed to correct the misalignment of the eyes.
All these “eye diseases” are common and not really dangerous. In fact they might be better classified as eye conditions. None of these conditions will cause your child to go blind, but it is important that they are diagnosed and treated promptly. This in turn will ensure your child perceives the world in the best possible detail.