Children assimilate close to 90% of everything they learn through their eyes. Therefore, timely detection of visual problems is critical. As with any other health problem, the same principle applies: the sooner the problem is detected, the faster and more effective the treatment will be.
Find out what the most common visual problems in children are:
The child easily recognizes objects in the distance, however, it takes a great effort to see things up close. This quickly puts too much strain on the brain, which leads to headaches, reddened eyes, inability to concentrate, restlessness and rapid exhaustion when the child reads or writes. Important note: most babies suffer from farsightedness, and this condition improves during the first years of a child’s life.
The retina pushes away light rays that penetrate the eye at a distance because the eye is too long or the refractive force of the eye lens is too high. Children affected by this condition are very focused on anything close to them. However, they have difficulties in seeing images on TV, watching a ball when they are playing any game or writing on the school board. These children tend to squint or blink a lot to try to compensate for their visual problems, or when trying to see a distant object more clearly.
This visual problem is also called irregular corneal curvature. Irregularly shaped corneal rays cause vision to be blurred and distorted. Depending on the severity of the irregular curvature, the child will see objects with more or less deformed linear transmissions.
In common language, we call people who cannot focus both eyes on a single target at the same time as strabismus. Experts consider this condition as strabismus. Approximately 5% of all human beings suffer from this unique visual problem condition, which does not cause any pain. Usually only one eye is affected. The focus is misdirected inwards, outwards, up or down. In other words, it focuses on a fixed point that is not congruent with the clearest vision of the eye, but rather in a different place on the retina. The consequence: two images are generated in the brain – one sharp and one blurry. To make the job easier, the brain learns to suppress the image it finds unacceptable. Henceforth, the child favors the properly functioning eye so as to be able to see. The neglected eye is unable to fully develop its visual acuity – which is why it is called the “lazy eye”. Over time, the vision of this one gets worse. If severe strabismus is not treated, a healthy eye can develop vision problems. The resulting condition is called amblyopia – a lifelong dysfunction that also has other consequences. A child who relies on the use of one eye is unable to develop a visual spatial sense and will also fall behind in the development of motor skills. As an adult, a person suffering from this condition may face serious problems, such as driving a car. The good news: if the condition is detected before the 10th/12th month, amblyopia can be treated quickly and effectively. If the child is more than a year old, the restorative process takes longer.
Amblyopia or ‘lazy eye’
This often results from the child having very good vision in one eye and very poor vision in the other. It almost always affects kids with simple hyperopia or astigmatism – in a nearsighted person it is rare to find amblyopia with this cause because they see very well up close. But if the condition is detected at 2 years or earlier they are very well corrected and recover. What can be achieved by correcting the occlusion [covering] the eye that is good (which has less diopters), this should be done before they go to school.