Does your child have an eye condition?
Five symptoms of common eye problems in children and when to seek help
By Dr. Giovanna Olivares, OD, FAAO; Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Director & Staff Writer
As a parent, it's part of your job description to ensure that your child is healthy in every way possible, and that includes their eye health. A child’s eyes are constantly in use, teaching them about the world around them through reading, writing, and more. In fact, 80% of what children learn in their first 12 years comes from visuals. Which is a challenge, because it’s estimated that 1 in 4 children in the U.S. have a vision issue that requires treatment. At home, it can be difficult to recognize eye problems in children since they may not always express their concerns and the screenings at school can miss up to 75% of children with vision problems. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant and know what signs to look for so you can take the necessary steps to protect your child's vision.
Here are some common eye problems in children and when to seek help:
1. Crossed or turned eyes.
Eyes that are not aligned could be a sign of a problem called strabismus. This condition can cause vision problems, and early intervention is essential. Seek help from an eye doctor as soon as you can.
If your child is squinting or complaining of blurry vision, they may have nearsightedness or farsightedness. An eye exam can determine if your child needs glasses.
3. Watery or red eyes
Children who persistently show watery or red eyes may be a sign of allergies, infection, or inflammation. It's important to see an eye care professional if this occurs.
4. Light sensitivity
Sensitivity to light may be a sign of an underlying eye condition, such as iritis, or uveitis. This condition can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. Seek help immediately.
5. Poor school performance
If your child is struggling in school, it may be due to an undiagnosed vision problem. A comprehensive eye exam can determine if your child needs glasses or other treatment.
It's important to schedule regular eye exams for your child, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have their first eye exam between six and 12 months of age, then again between three and five years old, and before starting first grade. Afterward, regular exams should occur every one to two years. Don't hesitate to seek help if you notice any signs of eye problems in your child. Early detection and treatment can prevent vision problems from becoming more severe.
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