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Vision problems in children

vision problems in children
Checking a boy’s vision at a pediatric ophthalmologist.

How to detect and treat them?

Does your child seem to have trouble seeing at a distance or up close? Do they feel eye strain after a day at school? There are ways to correct vision problems in children! But first of all, let’s discover the different types of vision defects, then learn how to detect them, and finally, find out how our COP9 team treats vision problems in young children.

What are the most common vision problems in children?

In order to detect and treat vision problems in children, the COP9 team presents the most common visual disorders in ophthalmology. 

It is useful to know that all visual anomalies can exist in children, even at a very young age. Astigmatism, hyperopia, and myopia are the most common. However, presbyopia does not concern them, and can affect adults from the age of 40. Other rarer pathologies, such as retinitis pigmentosa or retinoblastoma, require a thorough ophthalmological examination by an ophthalmologist specialized in pediatrics, such as our specialist, Dr. Stéphanie Zwillinger.

Before giving you an exhaustive list of the most common disorders in children, we would like to point out the difference between ocular pathologies and visual defects.

An ocular pathology is a disease of the eye, it will affect the visual system, while a visual defect is a vision disorder that will prevent seeing an element clearly. It is therefore useful to know the difference, as well as the different types, to properly detect and treat vision problems in children!

Ocular pathologies to be screened for in children :

Visual defects (or refractive disorders) which children should be checked for : 

  • myopia ;
  • hyperopia ;
  • astigmatism.

If your child is experiencing visual fatigue or is squinting at a distance, these are signs that could alert you to a possible vision problem! Continue reading this article to learn more… and don’t hesitate to make an appointment for an eye test.

Vision problems in children: what signs can alert a parent?

Depending on the children’s vision problems, there are different signs and symptoms that are useful to know, and afterwards to have an eye test carried out by a pediatric ophthalmologist.

For myopia, a visual disorder that impairs distance vision, the child will :

  • squint ;
  • move closer to the object being observed ;
  • misread the board from the back of the classroom ;
  • hold closely a sheet of paper.

For hyperopia, the lens is not correctly focused towards the retina, the image formed will be produced behind it. For the hyperopic child, you will observe the opposite symptoms to those described for the myopic child.

For astigmatism, near and distance visual acuity is affected: 

  • the child with astigmatism will have difficulty seeing both near and far, at different diopters ;
  • this visual defect can range from a slight visual discomfort to totally blurred vision. 

For all these vision problems, the child will need to make an effort of accommodation to get a clearer vision. This will result in:

  • headaches or a chronic migraine ;
  • tilting the head when observing an element ;
  • a potential beginning of strabismus ;
  • difficulty learning to read.

The COP9 team encourages you to inform your child’s teaching staff so that they can be well placed in the classroom. On our side, our ophthalmological follow-up assures you an efficient care and an adapted treatment for children’s eye problems.

What are the treatments for vision problems in children?

The most common treatment in ophthalmology is the prescription of corrective lenses, through the wearing of glasses. The options of eye surgery or orthokeratology, which are rarer, are studied on a case-by-case basis by Dr. Stéphanie Zwillinger, depending on the ocular pathology the child is suffering from. For a teenager, it is also possible to discuss the different types of contact lenses, or lenses to be worn at night. However, refractive surgery will be performed at a later stage when the child’s vision has stabilized.

The estimation of the strength of the correction is done through a set of painless tests. Our team of orthoptists examines children, even young ones, and asks their parents about any family medical history or other genetic diseases to be mentioned. During these examinations, elements such as the curvature of the cornea are analyzed, allowing us to accurately identify the vision problem(s) in children.

Finally, once you have obtained the medical prescription, all you need to do is go to the optician. Once again, we encourage you to visit a professional specialized in pediatrics to ensure your child’s comfort when wearing glasses.We conclude this article on vision problems in children with a simple recommendation: consult our ophthalmologist, Dr. Stéphanie Zwillinger, who will provide your child with an effective optical correction that will ensure good vision on a daily basis. Vision problems are common in children, and sometimes very discreet, with a slow evolution over time. Do not hesitate to have regular consultations to ensure that your child does not have any vision problems!

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