If your child has 20/20 or 6/6 vision, this is only a small part of having good vision. Your child must also be focussed in each eye, must have good eye movement control, good eye-hand co-ordination, good eye health and normal visual perception.
At Evans & McMahon Eyecare Plus we have a special interest in making sure that your child develops the best possible vision. We test all the visual skills necessary develop good vision.
There are many vision problems that children can have. They include:
- Muscle Inco-ordination
- Colour Vision Defects
- Visual Perceptual Deficits
Some of these are very obvious and are picked up early in childhood and others are much less obvious.
Strabismus is a condition that interferes with binocular vision because it prevents a person from directing both eyes simultaneously to align with each other at the same spot. This is often known as a squint. Strabismus is present in about 4% of children. Treatment should be started as early as possible to ensure the development of the best possible vision.
Amblyopia (also called lazy eye) is a disorder of sight. It results in decreased vision in an eye that otherwise appears normal. Whenever the brain does not receive visual signals from an eye for a long period of time, there is a risk of amblyopia. It also can occur when the brain “turns off” the visual processing of one eye to prevent double-vision. It is common in children with strabismus.
Detecting the condition in early childhood increases the chance of successful treatment; this disorder has been estimated to affect 1–5% of the population.
Myopia is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it, causing the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus, but in focus when looking at a close object. It also known as short-sightedness.
Hyperopia is a defect of vision causing difficulty focusing on near objects, and in extreme cases causing a sufferer to be unable to focus on objects at any distance. Children with hyperopia can experience blurred vision, headaches, accommodative dysfunction, binocular dysfunction, amblyopia, and strabismus. Most school age children are in fact slightly hyperopic and therefore must exert an extra effort to bring their vision into sharp focus for both far and near tasks. For some children it will interfere with their ability to do schoolwork.
Astigmatism is a refraction error of the eye in which there is a difference in degree of power in different meridians. Astigmatism causes difficulties in seeing fine detail. Astigmatism can be often corrected by glasses with a lens that corrects for the difference in power.
Muscle Inco-ordination occurs when the complex muscle system for co-ordinating the two eyes to work as a team are not properly balanced. They often occur together with other vision problems and if left untreated contribute to a worsening of the vision problem.
Colour Vision Defects
Colour Vision Defects occur in about 9% of boys and 0.5% of girls. They are almost always inherited but can be the result of disease or injury. Almost all people with colour vision defects see most colours but due to the imbalance of their colour receptors they see them slightly differently to the way someone with normal vision sees them. They will therefore have difficulty in identifying some colours and will confuse some colours.
Visual Perception is the ability to analyse and understand what the eyes are seeing. Children with vision problems are more likely to have difficulty with their visual perception; however these problems can occur with otherwise normal vision. If this problem does exist, the underlying vision problem is treated first and then a program of visual perceptual therapy is administered.