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Hidden signs of eventual disease in children

Healthy and full vision is necessarily acquired over childhood, supported by normal anatomical and physiological conditions during a child’s growth. It is therefore fundamental to perform vision screening during medical appointment for detecting some more or less prevalent pathology — read more in ophthalmology — whose lack of treatment will interfere in visual function balance.

Often parents or other family members notice pathology signs or symptoms requiring children to have follow-up and treatment. Examples are strabismus, getting too close to reading or interest targets (whether they are near or far away) or child alert about visual acuity decreasing. However, there are some less obvious signs that are sometimes undervalued or misinterpreted even if corresponding to vision problems.

1. Inability to keep attention.
Your children may seem like he/she is quickly losing interest in games, toys, projects or activities demanding a long eyes use of eyes.

2. Shyness and inaction towards surrounding environment – “he/she is too quiet!”
The act of exploring a setting or a new activity requires children to be confident about their own motor and sensorial skills, which are closely linked. This means that an important decrease in secondary visual acuity due to (for instance) significant refractive error constrains notion of distance and understanding of spatial limits, thus affecting children’s self-assessment about their involvement in tasks or games. It may limit faculty achievement in more advanced stages.

3. Problems to follow a text during reading activities
When reading a line, paragraph or text your children may easily “loose him/herself” and find difficult to keep a fluid reading. This is different from learning disorders or psychomotor delays associated to several organic pathologies or even dyslexia.

4. Avoiding reading and near vision tasks
Children may refuse activities like reading, drawing, playing or developing some other projects requiring near vision efforts. It may happen in many subtle or obvious ways.

5. Anomalous head position – Turned or “twisted” head.
A Child may turn head when looking to something in front of him/her and this may be a sign of visual acuity decreasing (for instance as a consequence of some refractive error) or may be caused by some special types of strabismus. In such cases, vicious head position helps a child to see.

The younger the children, the harder it is to perceive small signs. Therefore, our mission to value mid or long-term changes that still require medical evaluation. Going back to beginning… vision screening is still essential!


Sources: American Academy of Ophthalmology –

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