Early identification of a child’s vision problem can be crucial because children often are more responsive to treatment when problems are diagnosed early. Early eye exams also are important because children need the following basic skills related to good eyesight for learning: Near vision, Distance vision, Binocular (two eyes) coordination, Eye movement skills, Focusing skills, Peripheral awareness.
Children can have variety of eye problems. Some of the relatively common disorders are refractive errors, redness of eyes (conjunctivitis – infective or allergic), watering of eyes, strabismus (deviation of eyes), amblyopia (lazy eyes), lid abnormalities (ptosis), congenital cataracts, congenital glaucoma, developmental abnormalities of the eyes (microphthalmos), vitreous hemorrhage, retinopathy of prematurity etc.
Eye movement disorders usually involve uncontrollable movements of the eye or eyes that are not able to focus properly. For example, your child’s eyes may cross in or drift out (strabismus), they may have decreased vision in one eye (lazy eye, or amblyopia) or they may have double vision.
Some children are born with cataracts, which are a clouding of the eye’s lenses. The clouding prevents images from being seen clearly or at all. In babies and young children, cataracts must be treated to prevent lasting problems with development of vision.
Strabismus is a type of eye movement disorder in which a child’s eyes look crossed. It is usually caused by an imbalance in the muscles that help the eyes stay straight and move together properly. Surgery on the eye muscles can help the eyes look straight. Children may have lasting vision loss in the less-used eye (amblyopia) if the condition is not treated in early childhood.