Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month: Refractive Errors Parents Need to Know About

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and what better way to commemorate the occasion than with a comprehensive eye checkup? An appointment to the eye doctor should start at the age of three. This will help detect vision problems early and ensure that your child grows with a clear eyesight. Let experts from Arizona Retinal Specialists discuss the different refractive errors you need to know about.

What is a normal vision?

To understand how refractor errors can affect your child’s vision, it’s important to tackle first what we consider normal. For children with regular vision, the following things occur in this order:

  1. Light passes through the cornea of the eye. This part is the translucent, dome-shaped surface that covering the front of the eyeball.
  2. From there, the light continues to travel through the pupil. The iris, which is the colored part of your eye, controls the amount of passing light.
  3. Next, the light reaches the lens. This is the clear part inside the eye that targets light rays onto the retina.
  4. From there, light travels passes by the vitreous humor. This clear, jelly-like material fills the center of the eye, keeping it round in shape.
  5. Finally, the light comes into the retina. This sensitive nerve layer covers the back of the eye and is responsible for inverting the image.
  6. The optic nerve transmits signals of colors and shades to the brain’s visual cortex. This is now what we call vision, as the signals are translated into images.

What are refractive errors?

These affect vision, requiring your child to have corrective lenses to improve eyesight. The following are the most common refractive errors:

  1. Nearsightedness or Myopia – This condition makes distant objects look blurry. It is prevalent in children and needs correction, otherwise, it may cause eye strain or headaches. Nearsightedness causes the image of a distant object to appear out of focus in front of the retina. Contact lenses or eyeglasses may help improve myopia by adjusting the focusing power of the retina.
  2. Farsightedness or Hyperopia – This makes a close object look unclear. Hyperopia may cause extreme tiredness, eye strain, and headaches. Children who often squint, rub their eyes or have trouble reading are usually diagnosed with this condition.
  3. Distorted Vision or Astigmatism – This makes both close and far objects look fuzzy. It can start in childhood or in adulthood. Depending on severity, corrective lenses may be required.
  4. Lazy Eye or Amblyopia – This refractive error usually starts when one eye has a better focus than the other. When the blurry eye gets worse, it can lead to permanent damage in vision.
  5. Crossed Eyes or Strabismus – This condition is marked by the way the eyes focus on different directions. It is very common in children, but it can also manifest later in life. You can try corrective lenses, surgery, or a combination of both to treat this strabismus.
  6. Color Blindness or Color Vision Deficiency – A vast majority of people with deficient color vision inherited it from their mother, although some get it as a result of sclerosis or diabetes. Individuals with this condition often can see clearly, but can’t fully process certain colors.
  7. Drooping Of The Eyelid or Ptosis – You can notice this condition when your child has his or her upper eyelid falls lower than normal. It can impede vision and change a person’s appearance.

The Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month is meant to remind all parents of the importance of eye checkup and care. Even if you think your child’s vision is healthy, it is still important to visit an eye doctor regularly. At Arizona Retinal Specialists, we will ensure that your child gets the best eye care. Call us today at 623-474-3937 for more information.

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