Did you know that the most serious vision problems in children, including refractive errors and amblyopia, often have no outward signs or symptoms?  Children don’t complain about poor vision because they think they’re seeing the world normally!  So their vision problems can easily go unnoticed and untreated. Below are some of the most common vision problems in children.

Refractive Error

Refractive error occurs if the eye cannot focus light properly on the retina. It may cause blurry vision. If your child shows any signs of eye problems, you should take him or her to an eye doctor for a complete eye exam.

There are several types of refractive errors:

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

In myopia, the eyeball is too long for the normal focusing power of the eye. As a result, images of distant objects appear blurred.


In this hyperopia, the eyeball is too short for the normal focusing power of the eye. In children, the lens in the eye accommodates for this error and provides clear vision for distance and usually near viewing, but with considerable effort that often causes fatigue and sometimes crossed eyes (strabismus).


Astigmatism results primarily from an irregular shape of the front surface of the cornea, the transparent "window" at the front of the eye. Persons with astigmatism typically see vertical lines more clearly than horizontal ones, and sometimes the reverse.

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Strabismus results from eyes that are not straight or do not line up with each other. This problem is caused when the muscles of the eyes do not work together. About 1 in 50 children has strabismus. Half of these children are born with the condition. An illness or accident may also cause strabismus. If the problem is not found and treated early it may lead to lazy eye (amblyopia). 

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Lazy eye or Amblyopia is reduced vision in one or both eyes because the brain is not “reading” signals from the eye(s). An eye that “looks good” but doesn’t see well. Ambloypia can be caused by eyes that are misaligned, have unequal focusing powers, or not receiving light stimulus. If not treated it can cause life long vision loss in the problem eye. 

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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear mucous membrane that covers the white part of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelid. It is the most common eye infection in the United States. Cases may vary from a mild redness with watery eyes to serious infections where vision is impaired or even lost. 

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