Eye problems are rare in children, but they do happen. Unfortunately many children can’t verbalize to their parents if they are having eye issues, so it is up to the parent to be observant.
Your child might show some tell-tale signs of eye problems, which you shouldn’t take lightly. Most optometrists are trained to see patients as young as a few months old, and will easily be able to help your child see better and help calm your nerves.
Signs of Eye Problems in Infants
Eye problems in infants are very rare, yet you should still be on the lookout for any issues.
Once your baby is born, his or her eyes will take awhile to adjust, so they might not always look as you would expect them to look. Don’t worry though, because after your baby turns a few months old, their eyes will adjust and, most likely, they will grow up with healthy eyes.
However, if after three months your child’s eyes still look different to you then talk to your pediatrician.
Some differences you may notice include crossing of the eyes, uneven movements of the eyes, small spots in the whites of their eyes, or droopy eyelids. Babies will also squint if they can’t see very well, so squinting is a definite sign that something is going on with your infant’s eyes. Issues that could arise in infants include lazy eyes, misaligned eyes or simple refractive issues.
All of the previous mentioned signs could lead to a simple, fixable issue. So, if you notice any of these signs, then talk to your pediatrician. They can determine if your infant needs to see an optometrist, and connect you with good pediatric optometrists.
Signs of Eye Problems in Young Children
Young children are different from infants. They might not always verbalize their eye issues, however they will show more signs. If your child is in school, then often the first sign of eye problems is their teacher sending a note home saying they aren’t doing well in class. This could be a sign that they can’t see the board properly and are having issues with their distant vision. It could also be a sign that they can’t see their books or homework very well, and are having issues with their near vision.
Other signs of eye problems in young children include excessive squinting, eye rubbing, or droopy eyelids. All of these signs can point towards either simple refractive issues or larger issues which could require surgery. Most often than not, children with eye problems simply need a pair of glasses to correct their vision – or so they say, but we’ll get to that later!
However, there are a few rare issues that could occur between the ages of 18 months and four years old that can’t be fixed with corrective lenses. These issues include lazy eyes, crossed eyes, uneven focus and depth perception issues. Signs of these rare issues in children include a wandering eye, a visibly lazy eye, swelling, bulging eyes or discoloration in the pupils.
If you notice any of these symptoms of eye problems, then make an appointment with your local optometrist to be safe. The simple problems can usually be fixed easily, yet the rare problems, if left untreated, can become permanent as your child grows older.
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What Can Parents Do to Help?
Parents who have infants and young children with eye problems might be wondering how they can help. The most important thing to do is to follow your child’s optometrist’s instructions. Children often don’t like complying with all of the instructions that doctors give them, so you might have to bribe them into wearing their glasses, or give them extra treats for allowing you to put their eye drops in.
However you do it, help your children follow the instructions the eye doctor gives them.