Many eye conditions develop in childhood, which is why it’s important for parents to be vigilant about their children’s visual health. Compounding the problem is that young children may not even realize they have a vision problem, yet the condition may be holding them back socially, academically or developmentally.
Read on as your eye doctor talks about common eye conditions that typically develop in childhood.
Amblyopia is a vision disorder characterized by one eye having a different visual acuity than the other. This causes focus and alignment errors, forcing the brain to ignore signals coming from the weaker eye. As a result, this eye gradually loses its function, which is why this condition is also referred to as “lazy eye.” Treatment options include wearing a patch on the stronger eye or applying atropine drops on the stronger eye. Doing so forces your brain to acknowledge image patterns sent by the weaker eye.
Myopia occurs when the gap between the back and front parts of your eyes is too wide. Instead of light rays being focused directly on the retina, they fall in front of it. As a result, your child may struggle to see distant objects clearly, while their short-range vision remains sharp. We may prescribe corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses to help them see better from afar.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Conjunctivitis or pink eye is a condition that can be caused by a bacteria, virus or allergen. Your child’s conjunctiva, the clear membrane lining the inside part of your eyelids, may become inflamed. They may complain of watery, itchy and red eyes when this happens. In some cases, their eyes may also swell and produce discharges.
Some conjunctivitis cases, especially those caused by allergy, can be managed by taking antihistamine medications for your child’s improved visual comfort. Viral cases tend to resolve on their own in a few days, but in the meantime your child should stay home from school because they’re likely contagious. If your child has bacterial pink eye, your optometrist may prescribe antibiotics.
For more information about common childhood eye problems, call us at (703) 688-7003. You may also complete our form to request an appointment. We serve different VA areas, including Vienna, Reston and McLean.