Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 10, 2021

Get to Know the Warning Signs of Vision Problems in Young Children

As adults, identifying a prominent vision problem is quite a straightforward process. However, that’s not how it is with toddlers and young children. Stay with us as we discuss both the primary concerns and the warning signs that parents should look out for.

Why Young Children Cannot Recognize Most Vision Problems

Thanks to rapid  advancements in eye care and corrective vision treatment made in the last few years, most ophthalmological problems in children, adults, and even seniors can be corrected today. However, detecting that there is a problem with your child’s vision can be difficult if their guardians don’t pay attention.

When an adult loses vision, or develops some other form of ocular disorder, they notice a change or a deviation from what they have come to accept as the norm for their vision. Young children will cry or complain when they have a headache or a tummy ache because it hurts. Unfortunately, if they have never had perfect vision, their young minds have no possible way of identifying it as a problem. For them, their poor vision is the norm, so it is up to parents and teachers to look for signs.

A Common Sign: Misalignment

Amblyopia or lazy eye is a common disorder in young children, but it can be treated without any invasive or extensive procedures in most cases. However, that is only true as long as parents act fast. Children older than three should not ideally have misalignment in between their right and left eye, so contact an ophthalmologist immediately, if you notice:

  • Cross-eye (both eyes look inwards)
  • One or both eyes moving independently of each other.
  • One or both eyes looking outwards.
  • Mentions of double vision.

Corneal Rings

Arcus juvenilis is a form of corneal arcus which presents itself as a blue, white or gray ring around the child’s cornea. Under normal circumstances, corneal arcus is a common but benign vision problem in seniors and super seniors. Unfortunately, Arcus juvenilis is a condition which only affects people who are not old enough to develop corneal rings. Young children in particular should be screened for hypercholesterolemia and other abnormalities of fatty tissues, if a corneal ring is noticed.

Ocular Flutter

It may or may not be severe, but if it is severe, parents should be able to notice it quite easily. Ocular flutters can be noted by observing the child’s eyelid movement closely for a few minutes. Parents should be able to see sporadic spurts of involuntary and continuous horizontal eye jolts (saccades). Depending on the severity, the fluttering bursts may occur several times in a minute, while lasting only for a second or two.

Other than the signs above, there are of course more recognizable and straightforward signs of poor ocular health as well. However, when a child’s eyes are hurting, itching, looking red, or leaking pus and or/water, the signs are quite self-evident. The ones mentioned here are more subtle, but they do hold the potential for causing long term damage if not screened and treated at an early age.

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