Healthy eyes and vision are a critical part of kids' development. Their eyes should be examined regularly, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early.
Be sure to make vision care and eye checks a part of your child's routine medical care.
Different kinds of doctors offer eye care, and the names can be confusing:
Routine medical exams for kids' vision include:
Signs that a child may have vision problems include:
In school-age children, watch for other signs such as:
Watch your child for evidence of poor vision or crossed eyes. If you notice any eye problems, have your child examined immediately so that the problem doesn't become permanent.
If caught early, eye conditions often can be reversed.
Several eye conditions can affect kids. Most are detected by a vision screening using an acuity chart during the preschool years.
Other eye conditions require immediate attention, such as retinopathy of prematurity (a disease that affects the eyes of premature babies) and those associated with a family history, including:
Be sure to talk to your doctor if your child is at risk for any of these conditions.
Kids of all ages — even babies — can wear glasses and contacts.
Keep these tips in mind for kids who wear glasses:
Infants born with congenital cataracts may need to have their cataracts surgically removed during the first few weeks of life. Some children born with cataracts wear contact lenses after cataract surgery.
Around age 10, kids may express a desire to get contact lenses for cosmetic reasons or convenience if they play sports. Allowing a child to wear contacts depends on his or her ability to insert and remove lenses properly, faithfully take them out as required, and clean them as recommended by the doctor. Contact lens problems are almost always caused by poor habits and bad hygiene.
Your eye doctor can help you decide what type of vision correction is best for your child.
Reviewed by: Jonathan H. Salvin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2011
|American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus This organization provides vision information and resources.|
|Prevent Blindness America This website offers information, resources, vision tests, volunteer opportunities, and more.|
|EyeCare America EyeCare America is a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology that works to raise awareness about eye disease and care, provide free eye health educational materials, and facilitate access to medical eye care.|
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|Glasses and Contact Lenses Sometimes the different parts of the eye don't work together the way they should. When this happens, people wear glasses or contact lenses. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Retinoblastoma Retinoblastoma is a childhood cancer that affects the retina, the area of the eye responsible for sensing light and sending nerve signals to the brain.|
|Retinopathy of Prematurity Retinopathy of prematurity, which mostly occurs in premature babies, is a disease that causes abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina. Sometimes surgery is needed to prevent vision loss or blindness.|
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|Eyes The eyes are small compared with most of the body's other organs, but their structure is incredibly complex. Learn more about eyes, vision, and common problems with both.|
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|Seeing Your Way Through Strabismus Strabismus is when someone's eyes don't look straight ahead. It might look as if the person has one crossed eye. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Blindness Kids who can't see, or can't see well, learn to live without using their eyes. To learn more about visual impairment and what causes it, read our article for kids.|
|Cataracts Do you know an older person who has cataracts? Find out about this vision problem in this article for kids.|
|Vision Facts and Myths Old wives' tales abound about the eyes. From watching TV to eating carrots, here's the lowdown on some vision facts and fiction.|
|Visual Impairment When one or more parts of the eye or brain that are needed to process images become diseased or damaged, severe or total loss of vision can occur. Read all about visual impairment.|
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