With increasing use of tablets, phones and digital devices on the Gold Coast much like the rest of the world, the incidence of treating children for vision problems has been noticeably increasing at Envision Optical over the last 5 years. There have been many recent articles published about the rising incidence of Myopia in children world wide, in most western nations this has risen massively in the last thirty years. When talking sight problems there are terms used to describe specific conditions, which often causes confusion.
Envision Optical has put together a list and definitions of the top 7 most common vision problems for school age children.
Shortsightedness (myopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see objects near to you clearly, but objects farther away are blurry. Nearsightedness may develop gradually or rapidly, often worsening during childhood and adolescence. Myopia progression can now be greatly slowed by a complete vision plan that includes outdoor activity, and correction with ortho-keratology therapy or bifocal contact lenses. Atropine eye drops in low concentration may also be used to control progression.
Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see distant objects clearly, but objects nearby may be blurry. The degree of your farsightedness influences your focusing ability. Many children can compensate for their hyperopia but suffer visual fatigue with near work as a result.
Astigmatism produces blurred vision at all distances. It is usually due to the shape of the cornea (the front surface of the eye), not being an even curvature in all directions (like the side of an Australian football) it will bend the light passing through it by different amounts, producing astigmatism.
Astigmatism is a focusing error which causes asymmetric blur. Some directions in an image are more out of focus than others. This can be contrasted with short-sightedness (myopia) where all directions are uniformly blurred.
4) Lazy eye (amblyopia):
Amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” is the decreased vision in one or both eyes without detectable anatomic damage. It is usually associated with either a turned eye or a large difference in prescription between the two eyes. Amblyopia usually requires both prescription correction with glasses or contact lenses, eye patching, and vision therapy to restore maximum vision in the affected eye. Unfortunately sometimes even with treatment vision may not reach 100%.
5) Accommodative Dysfunction:
This is a very common problem with maintaining smooth and accurate focus with near vision tasks. It will commonly cause mild blur, eye fatigue and even headaches when reading or doing near work. It also may result in trouble changing focus from reading to the board in classrooms, making copying from the board accurately a difficult task for the child.
6) Convergence Disorders:
These are either convergence excess or convergence insufficiency. That is trouble with accurately aiming the eyes to the object of interest, and may be either turning in too much or drifting apart as you concentrate. These will result in trouble maintaining accurate and comfortable reading and concentration with near tasks. These are treated with a combination of glasses for near work to help the eyes align, and vision therapy to build normal function and adequate reserves to cope with the workloads.
Crossed or misaligned eyes can have different causes, such as problems with muscle control in the affected eye or eyes. Strabismus is a common cause of amblyopia and should be treated early in childhood so vision and eye teaming skills can develop normally.
The only way to confirm if your child is having problems with their vision is to book an appointment with an Optometrist. Appropriate vision testing at an early age is vital to ensure your child has the visual skills he or she needs to perform well in school.
A child who is unable to see print or view a blackboard can become easily frustrated, leading to poor academic performance. All vision problems are best treated if they are detected and corrected as early as possible while the child’s vision system is still developing, to ensure your child’s visual system reaches its full potential.
All initial examinations are bulk-billed to Medicare. No referral is needed.
Every Thursday, our Envision Optical blog brings you ‘Nutrition Thursday’ – news about nutrition for your eye health. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and like us to receive the reminders once they are posted. Each week we also include a delicious recipe for you to make: www.facebook.com/envisionoptical