God made the bodies of children amazing. Many times, if there is a problem with a child that is discovered at a young age, not only can they recover much faster than adults, but their bodies are able, in many ways, to permanently correct the problem. A great example of this is childhood vision problems. If caught at a young age, many vision or eye problems can be corrected for a lifetime!
One of these conditions is amblyopia which is more commonly known as “lazy eye”. A major concern with lazy eye is that, if left untreated, the eye that is “lazy” will eventually cease to function, causing vision loss in this eye due to the fact that the mind realizes that the eye, many times, is not looking at the appropriate objects. Kidshealth.org describes this well by saying, “…the brain’s programming will ignore signals from that eye.”
The most common cause of amblyopia, or lazy eye, is strabismus, which is more commonly referred to as “crossed eyes”. It is simply when the eyes do not align properly, causing the child to look at two different things at once. If you notice that your child’s eyes are not aligning properly, notify your pediatrician promptly because this condition is treatable for children! Many times, doctors are able to correct this problem by placing a patch over the properly-working eye which causes the other eye to worker harder and function better. There are times when surgery is required to correct the problem.
As children grow, they will begin having routine vision screenings at their well child check-ups. These are very important to make sure that there are no problems with your child’s vision. Although this is just a screening, this gives the providers the opportunity to monitor your child’s vision so that if there are any signs of possible vision problems, they can refer your child to see an ophthalmologist for further treatment which may include the use of glasses or contacts (depending on the age and maturity of your child).
As parents, you can also keep an eye out at home for cues that your child may be having trouble seeing. Do you notice them frequently squinting? Do they have difficulty reading a book they are holding? Do they express problems seeing objects far away, such as the board at school? Sometimes even headaches can be an indication of vision problems.
If it is determined that your child is in need of corrective lenses, remind your child that needing glasses is nothing to get discouraged about. Not only will glasses significantly improve their ability to see things they had difficulty seeing before, but they can also choose from a very wide variety of glasses that they feel best suits them! It’s just another way they can express individuality! As your child approaches the teen years, they may be more inclined to want contact lenses instead of glasses. Before deciding on contact lenses, discuss with your child the responsibilities that come with contacts – proper care and cleaning, removal each night before bed, etc.
It is important to ensure your child has the best vision possible. Without proper vision, your child could experience other problems such as learning difficulties. Make sure you are following your pediatricians’ recommendations for proper eye exams and care to ensure your child is able to have a clear view of the world around them.
These facts and more can be found at kidshealth.org/parents.