It seems that everyone has a vision of what eye problems in kids look like – usually, they narrow everything down to subbing their eyes, squinting or sitting too close to the TV set. And usually, these are some of the symptoms of vision problems in kids but they are not all. Sometimes, symptoms aren’t even symptomatic and unless your child comes to you and says they can’t see well, there’s nothing much you can do.
Here are things you need to know about your child’s vision so you can react in time…
In their early childhood, infants are able to see only 8 to 10 inches from their face. Their eye sight begins improving when they enter their 12th or 16th week. This is when their eyesight begins improving and they are able to see things that are further away. They can also see more clearly.
As the time passes (over the next year, to be precise), kids develop eye-body coordination, depth perception, eye-hand coordination, and the ability to judge distances. At this age, rarely any children experience vision difficulties.
When children are between 18 months and 4 years old, vision problems tend to emerge. The two most common vision issues are:
• Uneven focus – one eye is more farsighted that the other. About 2% to 3% of kids are affected by it. This is one of the silent problems of vision in kids, as they themselves aren’t aware their vision is compromised. They have had this their entire life so they don’t know it’s something unusual or uncommon – this is the reason they usually don’t complain about it. Even though this isn’t something too alarming, if it’s not treated, it may get worse for the child. In time, the stronger (the one with better focus) yet untreated eye becomes the child’s dominant eye. The brain then ignores the images coming from the weaker eye and nerve connections leading to it aren’t developed any more
• A crossed/wandering eye – troubles 3% to 5% of children. A child’s eye will appear crossed or it will drift in respect to the other eye. This is not an eye problem, in fact. The brain’s wiring is at fault. The vision loss in that weaker eye is usually permanent by the age of 9 or 10. In order for this to be prevented, it needs to be caught early with a vision screening.
In case your child’s doctor establishes your child needs surgery, Lasik (laser in-situ keratomileusis) eye surgery is probably the best solution. It’s a popular type of surgery used to correct vision in people who are farsighted, nearsighted or have astigmatism. Lasik is one of many ways of cornea reshaping, yet, according to patients – most effective. About 96% of patients will have their desired vision after having Lasik performed on them.
One of the benefits of Lasik is that patients experience very little pain owing to the numbing drops that are used. Further, patients may expect an immediate vision correction or approximately a day after Lasik is done. It’s not invasive, no stitches or bandages are required after the operation. In case further vision correction is needed (due to changes that come with age), adjustments can be made even years after the initial operation was conducted.
Patients have said that they had a dramatic reduction in eyeglass or contact lens dependence. Also, some patients didn’t need them any longer.
After having LASIK, most patients have a dramatic reduction in eyeglass or contact lens dependence and many patients no longer need them at all.
Vision Screening and Treatment
When you take your child for its first vision screening make sure it’s done by a pediatrician, family doctor, an eye specialist or the school nurse.
Opinions of experts on how often should a child get eye exams differ. Many pediatricians and ophthalmologists feel it’s best for these checkups to be a part of your child’s regular pediatric routine. If an eye problem is noted, it would be referred to an eye care provider. Unlike pediatricians and ophthalmologists, optometrists believe that frequent comprehensive exams by eye specialists are something that needs to be done regularly. It’s best you consult your health care provider and see what’s appropriate for your child.
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