Vision Problems in Children
Vision problems in kids tend to emerge between 18 months and 4 years old. The two most common vision issues are:
- A crossed or wandering eye, which troubles 3% to 5% of children. Symptoms include an eye that drifts or appears crossed in respect to the other eye.
- Uneven focus, where one eye is more farsighted than the other, affects 2% to 3% of kids. This vision problem is the hardest to detect, because young children don't know their vision is compromised.
Uneven focus or a slightly wandering eye may not seem that alarming, but if either condition goes untreated, a child's stronger eye (the one that sees further, or focuses better) slowly becomes their dominant eye. The brain starts ignoring the images coming from the weaker eye, and stops developing the nerve connections leading to it. By the age of 9 or 10, the vision loss in that weaker eye is usually permanent.
The compromised vision in that weaker eye, called amblyopia or lazy eye, doesn't have to happen. It can be stopped and reversed, but it needs to be caught early with a vision screening.
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