The eyes of a child

Eyesight is generally considered something you only need to worry about when you’re older and stuck in front of a screen most days. But the truth is that children can suffer from a wide range of eye problems – many of which can be corrected if you do regular eye exams.

Here are some warning signs to look out for, which may suggest you need to have your child’s eys checked …

  • Regularly holding their head at an angle
  • Squinting
  • Avoid of light or failure to respond to light
  • Obsessively rubbing their eyes and grimacing
  • Turning eyes without focusing on anything
  • Grasping for objects and missing them
  • Strabismus, commonly known as “cross-eyes” – when the eyes are turned or when the eyes have different prescriptions.

Serious childhood eye conditions to watch out for:

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There are many conditions that affect children and the sooner you notice that there is something wrong, the quicker you must take action.

Strabismus: When your child’s eyes are crossed or what people usually call squinted. It is important that the optometrist assesses the eyes’ ability to function together.

Amblyopia: Usually a result of strabismus, amblyopia occurs when the eyes are turned or when the eyes have different prescriptions. The brain ‘shuts off’ the image from the turned or blurry eye.

Near-sightedness (myopia): Children who are near sighted tend to struggle with focusing on objects that are far and squint to see things that in the distance. They engage better with things that are close. Near sightedness is as a result of the changed shape of the eye, leading to your child inability to focus on distant objects.

Far-sightedness (hyperopia): When reading or writing your child may get tired quickly because they can’t focus on things that are up close. They can easily recognise far-away objects. Far sightedness leads to headaches, red eyes, inability to concentrate and restlessness. The condition can, however, improve as your child gets older.

Astigmatism: This is the irregular curvature of the cornea (the outside, dome-shaped surface of the eye). Depending on the severity of the irregularity, objects may appear blurry, distorted and slanted.

Conjunctivitis (pink eye): Usually caused by a bacterial and contagious infection or an allergic reaction, conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the white outer surface of the eye and inner lining of the eyelids. The eye appears red or pink hence it’s called a pink eye. It also becomes itchy and irritated and discharge appears in both eyes

 

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