Refractive Errors in Children (Poor Eye Sight)
In a child with refractive errors, the eye does not focus the light on the retina so the eye will be out of focus and the vision will be blurred. Refractive errors are seen in almost 20 percent of children.
The most common refractive errors are: Myopia or nearsightedness which is the most common refractive error seen in children. Here the child can see close up but has problems with seeing things far away. The next common problem is hyperopia or farsightedness in which a child can’t see things close to him or her, but does not have a problem seeing things far away. This is usually uncommon in children. Most children normally have a small degree of this until they are 7 years of age. Astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea is oval rather than round so the corneal curvature is abnormal, resulting in decreased vision.
Vision Correction in Children
Most cases of poor eye sight in children can be corrected optically with glasses or contact lenses. Other advance options are available for children such as laser or lens implantation. Our consultant will discuss with you all available options. Safety of your child’s eyes is our main priority.
This can start in childhood or as an adult and can be easily corrected if it is causing problems. Children with astigmatism or hyperopia might complain of headache, eye strain, difficulty reading and fatigue while children with myopia have no symptoms apart of reduced vision for distance.
If refractive error is untreated then it might result in amblyopia (lazy eye) which is a decreased vision that occurs in one eye due to not receiving proper visual stimulation. If refractive error is treated before the child is 7-8 years old then amblyopia is preventable.
Strabismus or crossed eyes might result from uncorrected refractive errors in particular hyperopia. One or both eyes may turn inward (crossed-eyes), outward, turn up or turn down. Before age of 6 months, the child’s ability to fix is not great and hence it might be common to see some form of strabismus.
This type of strabismus may be normal, however and especially with the eye drifting outwards it is advisable to have your child’s eyes checked by one of our expert ophthalmologists at Eye Clinic London.
The signs and symptoms of strabismus may include:
•Your child is closing one eye to see
•Your child cannot properly judge distance to pick up objects
•Your child experiences headaches, dizziness, or seeing double. Treatment of strabismus may include patching the stronger eye in order to increase the strength in the weaker eye, eyeglasses, eye exercises, Botox injection in the muscles or surgery to straighten the eyes.