A child’s vision gets stronger each year. This improved vision is needed as the child explores the world more fully and begins schooling.
The developing eye is learning to do many things better, such as:
- accommodation or eye focusing. This allows the eye to quickly change focus between distances.
- seeing things in 3D (three dimensions). This is known as depth perception.
- tracking, which helps the eyes follow a moving target.
- convergence, which helps both eyes focus together on an object at the same time.
Common Childhood Vision Problems
There are three main refractive errors:
- Farsightedness (hyperopia). Close objects are blurry to a child (such as when reading), and distant objects are seen more clearly. Most children are minimal to moderately farsighted.
- Nearsightedness (myopia). A child sees near objects more clearly than distant objects.
- Astigmatism. With astigmatism, near and far vision is blurry. It’s almost like looking into a funhouse mirror in which you appear too tall, too wide or too thin.
Strabismus is when the eyes are misaligned and points to different directions. For healthy vision to develop into adulthood, both eyes must work together.
Amblyopia (lazy eye) is when one or both eyes do not develop normal vision during childhood. Eye problems like strabismus or refractive errors keep the eye from seeing correctly. This leads to a lazy eye.
A child is not likely to tell you that their vision is blurry. And often, parents do not see signs of strabismus, amblyopia or refractive errors. This is why it’s important to take your child for eye screenings during these critical years.