Vision disorders which manifest during childhood can affect an individual throughout life if not immediately addressed. Parents, educators and even children should be aware of the symptoms to identify some of the most common childhood vision disorders.
Types of Childhood Vision Disorders
Three of the most common early childhood vision disorders are often termed “Lazy Eye,” but this slang term actually breaks down into multiple vision disorders, each with its own distinct causes and treatments.
Children who suffer from amblyopia, Strabismus or Abnormal Refractive errors are all suffering from disorders that can lead to serious consequences. Amblyopia, the most common cause of loss of eyesight or vision in children, must be detected and treated as early as possible in order to reverse the damage it can do. For those children who have not had this condition detected and treated by the age of five, there may be no way to reverse the symptoms and outcome of this disorder.
When left untreated, Strabismus can lead to a more severe condition. The more general abnormal refractive errors that can affect children’s vision include Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and anisometropia.
Effects of Untreated Childhood Vision Disorders
When one tries to simulate the effects of vision disorders, it’s easy to see why many children with these disorders have negative experiences with their performance in school and other academic activities. Double vision, blurred lettering and words that run together may indicate vision disorders even when children have been tested as having excellent eyesight. Why is this? Partly, it’s due to the mechanics of vision disorders, including difficulty controlling eye movements at short distances.
When children are constantly confronted with a struggle to access their education, they can become discouraged and exhibit behavior consistent with other disorders, such as ADD/ADHD, which can affect the quality of their education and their ability to apply themselves to their studies throughout their lives. Parents can be shocked at how quickly their child’s reading and attention improves once vision disorders have been addressed, but logically, it makes sense that children able to see their studies would perform better.
Other Problems Resulting from Common Vision Disorders
Although the medical issues that children with vision disorders face are serious, there is another side to vision disorders which can cause additional stress, but is not always given due attention. Children who suffer from lazy or wandering eyes must not only learn how to judge depth perception, affecting their balance, they must also contend with curiosity and sometimes ridicule from their peers and others. In some cases, this has resulted in children having medical corrective measures taken to assist their appearance without aiding their vision.
Indicators of Common Vision Disorders in Children
Children with vision disorders may exhibit symptoms including headaches, close-reading/writing, difficulties paying attention, daydreaming, reading below their grade level and more. Early treatment is key to both physical health and academic achievement.