Common Vision Problems in Children

Amblyopia (lazy eye) occurs when vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. Amblyopia is the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood. It affects two to five percent of preschoolers. Amblyopia usually develops before the age of five and can persist for life if untreated. It causes more vision loss than trauma and all other ocular diseases.

Astigmatism is a very common vision problem caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. Blurred vision at all distances is the most significant indicator of astigmatism. Many people who have astigmatism also have myopia or hyperopia. It is often present at birth. Family history of the condition increases risk.

Strabismus is when eyes are turned in, turned out or not working together as a team. Signs and symptoms include wandering eye, double vision, vision in only one eye and eyes that appear crossed. However, in some children their eyes appear straight buy they may have a problem working together as a team. This is known as binocular disorder and can cause fatigue, discomfort or avoidance of near viewing activities. Strabismus patients also have no depth perception and will struggle with many sports, such as baseball or softball.

Myopia (nearsightedness) causes people to see close objects more clearly than distant ones. About one-third of the population has some degree of nearsightedness. This disorder usually appears in childhood. Certain areas of the world, such as Asia, are experiencing rapidly growing incidence of myopia in their populations.

Hyperopia (farsightedness) causes people to see distant objects more clearly than closer ones. Some children are born with hyperopia, but can outgrow it as their eyes develop. Hyperopic patients often prefer math to reading due to the added strain of close vision skills.

For more information about children and vision, visit The Vision Council.