Vision problems in children usually begin showing between the ages of 18 months and four years, and specialists recommend children should have their first thorough eye screening by at least the age of three. Here’s how to tell the
difference between common vision conditions.
Commonly referred to as a squint, it describes a misalignment of the eyes. This results in the eyes not looking in the same direction at the same time. This can either be obvious at all times or it may come and go. The condition can be
noticeable from birth or appear later. Treatment for strabismus includes eye patches, prescription glasses, eye exercises or surgery.
Amblyopia, or lazy eye, occurs when the vision in one eye is compromised, therefore doesn’t function as well as the other. If left untreated, the vision in the ‘lazy’ eye could become permanently damaged, which ultimately leads to poor vision. Treatment for amblyopia includes eye patches or eye drops, prescription glasses or surgery.
Refractive errors, or optical errors, refer to myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, which all cause blurred vision. When a child has either one of these conditions, it means the image that reaches the brain is not sharp because of an inability to focus images on the retina. Treatment includes corrective lenses in glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.
Common signs of vision problems include:
Tearing, swelling, eye rubbing, redness, pus, crust, droopy eyelids and bulging, or eyes that have fast, uncontrollable movement. Sensitivity to light or the colour white, and yellow or grey-white material in the pupils, are signs to look out
for. Consult the doctor if your child always tilts their head or turns it to the side or holds objects very close to the face.
COMPILED BY NOLWAZI DHLAMINI PHOTOS: FOTOLIA.COM