Amblyopia is reduced vision typically in one eye that results from the brain suppressing input from the affected eye due to unequal visual signals from each eye (as from strabismus or anisometropia) leading to poor development of visual acuity in the affected eye — called also lazy eye.
Amblyopia affects 2 or 3 out of every 100 children and can be caused by a number of different things such as strabismus, droopy eyelid, cataract, or severe farsighted, nearsighted, or astigmatism. The brain will eventually ignore images from the weaker eye. Treatment involves forcing the brain to receive images from the lazy eye by patching the good eye, wearing glasses, or surgery depending on the cause or severity.
Anisometropia is the significant difference of vision between each eye. It has been estimated that around six percent of all children ages six to eighteen suffer from this visual condition.
The symptoms of anisometropia can be alarming. A child suffering from anisometropia can have headaches, blurry vision, nausea, tiredness, and dizziness. To quickly label a child as lazy or a poor learner would be a disservice to the child when a vision issue could be causing or contributing to their behavior.
When our vision screening indicates anisometropia, it is especially important for a follow up eye exam to take place. One eye is working much harder than the other eye to see clearly. A child would not know that they aren’t seeing clearly because they may see perfectly fine out of the other eye. The brain will eventually stop trying and cut off the vision to the “bad eye” if not treated. Treatment can include monitoring the condition, glasses, or eye patching.
Astigmatism uh-stig-muh-tiz-uh m
Astigmatism is an improperly shaped cornea, the transparent that forms the front of the eye. Instead of being round, the cornea is shaped like a football. This causes vision to be blurred or distorted to some degree at all distances. Other symptoms include headaches, eye discomfort, and fatigue. By observing these symptoms alone, one may think a child is not trying hard enough or is uncooperative. The child’s work and behavior could just be a reflection on the fact they can’t see clearly.
In a recent study, more than 28 percent of children had at least mild astigmatism. Additionally, there were significant differences in astigmatism prevalence based on ethnicity. Asian and Hispanic children had the highest prevalence (33.6 and 36.9 percent, respectively), followed by whites (26.4 percent) and African-Americans (20.0 percent).
If our vision screening indicates astigmatism, further evaluation by an eye doctor is recommended. Glasses are the primary way to treat astigmatism.
Hyperopia is the medical term for farsightedness. When a person is farsighted, they can see things clearly far away, but not up close. Hyperopia is the most common refractive error in childhood. A person with hyperopia can experience tired eyes and headaches.
When our screening indicates hyperopia, a full eye exam is necessary for a doctor to determine if treatment is necessary. Many very young children are farsighted and grow out of it by the time they are 3 years old. If a child is extremely farsighted from a very early age and does not grow out of it, they can develop amblyopia (lazy eye). Only a doctor can determine a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan. Glasses are the simplest way to correct farsightedness.
Myopia is the medical term for nearsightedness. When a person is nearsighted, they can see things clearly up close, but not far away. Objects far away are blurry so sitting closer to the board in the classroom is important. Children who cannot see the board can easily fall behind their peers and give up trying.If our screening says “yes” for myopia, an eye exam is warranted. A doctor can treat myopia with glasses if necessary.
Strabismus struh-biz-muh s
Strabismus is misaligned eyes. One eye may look straight ahead while the other turns in, out, up or down. The eye turn may be constant or may be occasional or intermittent. Signals from the misaligned eye are “turned off” by the brain to avoid double vision, so the child uses only the better-seeing eye. Strabismus affects about 4 percent of children in the U.S.
When our screening comes back “yes” for gaze asymmetry or “n/a” for all categories after multiple attempts, this can indicate strabismus. An eye doctor can determine what type of treatment is necessary.
Anisocoria is a significant difference in pupil sizes. Affecting 20% of the population, it can be an entirely harmless condition or a symptom of more serious medical problems.
If our screening indicates anisocoria, we recommend a visit to an eye doctor to determine the cause.
Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is an inability for both eyes to work together on close-up tasks, such as reading. For example, a child with CI may see words that seem to “move around” on the page, a result of images from the right and the left eye failing to consolidate into one solid image.
Children with CI may also experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and loss of comprehension. An eye doctor should be seen if your child shows symptoms of CI.
8700 Stony Point Parkway, Suite 100, Richmond, VA