Vision problems can harm kids' development, grades

July 28, 2017

(HealthDay)—Poor eyesight can make life harder for people at any age, but it can really take a toll on children's school performance and well-being, vision experts say.

If left untreated, certain eye-related conditions can lead to developmental delays, learning issues and loss, warned specialists from the National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness.

"The good news is that many vision problems in children can be treated successfully if detected early," Hugh Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, said in a news release from the organization. Prevent Blindness is the oldest nonprofit and safety group in the United States.

Vision problems affect more than one in 20 preschoolers and one-quarter of school-aged children, the eye experts said.

The group urges parents and guardians to have children receive routine vision screening even if they aren't experiencing any . If children show any signs of eye trouble, they should undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.

Children usually don't complain about their vision, the group pointed out. But they might have nearsightedness (myopia), which is trouble seeing things at a distance. Kids could also have farsightedness (hyperopia), which is trouble seeing things at close range. There are also more serious eye conditions, including:

  • Amblyopia, or "lazy eye".— This is the leading cause of vision loss among kids. In most cases, children's eyes are not aligned properly or one eye doesn't focus as well as the other. Typically, one eye becomes stronger than the other, causing the brain to disregard the image of the weaker eye. If left untreated, the weaker eye may suffer vision loss that can't be corrected. About 2 percent of children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years have amblyopia.
  • Strabismus, or "crossed eyes".—This occurs when the eyes' muscles do not align and work together properly. Up to 4 percent of young children have strabismus. If left untreated, this disorder can lead to amblyopia and .
  • Astigmatism.—This occurs if the eye's cornea or lens has an irregular shape. If not corrected, it can cause blurry vision at any distance. Up to 28 percent of aged 5 to 17 have astigmatism. The condition is more common among kids who are nearsighted or farsighted, the eye experts said.

Explore further: Kids should be screened for lazy eye by age 5

More information: SOURCE: Prevent Blindness, news release, July 20, 2017

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has more about eye screening for children.

Related Stories

Kids should be screened for lazy eye by age 5

February 28, 2017
(HealthDay)—Young children should be screened at least once for lazy eye before they turn 5 years old, a U.S. panel of experts says.

Portable vision screening devices accurately identify vision problems in young children

October 25, 2013
Portable screening devices allow pediatricians to successfully screen children for vision problems, including amblyopia, according to an abstract presented Oct. 25 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference ...

Amblyopia, not strabismus, identified as key contributor to slow reading in school-age children

November 23, 2015
Children with amblyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye," may have impaired ocular motor function. This can result in difficulties in activities for which sequential eye movements are important, such as reading. A new study ...

What women should do to guard against vision loss

April 12, 2016
(HealthDay)—Women are a majority of the 4.4 million Americans over age 40 who are visually impaired or blind, Prevent Blindness says.

Wearing glasses improves reading fluency for kids with 'high' astigmatism

January 27, 2016
For children with severe astigmatism, wearing glasses to correct blurred vision can significantly improve accurate reading speed, reports a study in the February issue of Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of ...

Recommended for you

World's blind population to soar: study

August 3, 2017
The world's blind will increase threefold from about 36 million today to 115 million in 2050 as populations expand and individuals grow ever older, researchers said Thursday.

Simulations signal early success for fractal-based retinal implants

July 27, 2017
Computer simulations of electrical charges sent to retinal implants based on fractal geometry have University of Oregon researchers moving forward with their eyes focused on biological testing.

Scientists regenerate retinal cells in mice

July 26, 2017
Scientists have successfully regenerated cells in the retina of adult mice at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

Genome editing with CRISPR-Cas9 prevents angiogenesis of the retina

July 24, 2017
A research team from the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear has successfully prevented mice from developing angiogenesis of the retina—the sensory tissue at the back of the eye—using gene-editing ...

Too little vitamin D may hinder recovery of injured corneas

July 24, 2017
Injury or disease in combination with too little vitamin D can be bad for the window to your eyes.

Combination of type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea indicates eyesight loss within four years

July 4, 2017
Research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered that patients who suffer from both Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea are at greater risk of developing a condition that leads to blindness within an average ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 28, 2017
Truly, children should be eye tested before any schooling begins. I always thought I was just sitting too far from the blackboard to read the words and numbers the teachers were writing. It wasn't until my 8th grade year (having repeated 6th grade) that I was vision tested. Geez, what a difference when I went back to school as a freshman in high school. I could read everything, and my learning was so much easier.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.