Ask Your Eye Doctor About These 7 Common Pediatric Eye Conditions

Ask Your Eye Doctor About These 7 Common Pediatric Eye Conditions

Diagnosing eye conditions in early childhood can help to halt the progression of conditions in the early stages and help save your child’s vision for the future. It can also help your child succeed in school and in life, as some pediatric vision conditions can make it difficult for children to learn, focus, and complete tasks. This is often because they cannot see well and find it difficult to participate in school activities, or because the act of reading and focusing their eyes creates unpleasant symptoms (headaches, motion sickness, fatigue, etc.) so that children avoid those tasks. Here are some pediatric eye conditions to discuss with your pediatric optometrist at your child’s next appointment.

7 Pediatric Eye Conditions

1. Refractive Errors
These errors occur due to an irregularly shaped eye that bends light incorrectly and causes vision to be blurred. The most common forms of refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness), presbyopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (both near and far sight impairment caused by an irregularly shaped cornea). These refractive errors can be corrected using eyeglasses. The diagnosis of refractive errors is incredibly important, as children with visual impairments can develop learning difficulties, as they are not able to see the board at school or read their materials at their desk.

2. Amblyopia
More commonly known as lazy eye, this condition is diagnosed when one eye has reduced vision caused by abnormal visual development. Because one eye is weaker, it tends to wander. This condition can often be corrected with the use of glasses or patching therapy.

3. Strabismus
More commonly known as crossed eyes, this condition is when one eye is turned in a different direction than the other. Strabismus often results from an abnormality of the neuromuscular control of the eye movement. Because the eyes are focusing on two different points, vision can be doubled and it can be difficult for the brain to process. Because of this, the brain may choose to focus on only one eye image and strabismus can lead to amblyopia if left untreated.

4. Nystagmus
This condition causes the eyes to involuntarily move. If you see your child’s eyes quickly going left to right, up and down, or in a circular pattern, they may have nystagmus. This condition is commonly caused by a disease affecting the inner ear and sense of balance but it can also be caused by multiple sclerosis (MS).

5. Convergence Insufficiency
When this condition is present, the eyes are unable to work together when looking at close objects because of an impairment of the eye muscles. Because the eyes have to work hard to try to see despite misalignment, convergence insufficiency can often cause headaches, double vision, blurred vision, eye fatigue, motion sickness, vertigo, and difficulty reading.

6. Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD)
This condition occurs when both eyes are not working together and are misaligned. This misalignment can be vertical, horizontal, or at an angle. Convergence insufficiency and BVD are very similar, as they are both binocular vision conditions that have similar symptoms, the difference is that convergence insufficiency is when the eyes can’t work together to see close items whereas BVD is the eyes not working together at any distance.

7. Pediatric Cataracts
Cataracts occur when the crystalline lens of one or both eyes becomes cloudy. Due to this clouding, vision can be impaired. This may be corrected using prescription eyeglasses, but it may eventually require cataract surgery. Unlike some other eye conditions, cataracts tend not to damage the health of the eye so surgery should be able to restore vision.

Children’s Eye Exams In Calgary

Children often do not know when their vision is impaired, because they do not know that other people don’t see the same way they do. And even if children do become aware that they can’t see well, they are not always able to express their experiences. To ensure your child does not have an undiagnosed eye condition, schedule a children’s eye exam with one of the skilled pediatric optometrists at Specs in the City. At Specs in the City, our SE Calgary optometrists are here to protect your kid's vision for the entirety of their childhood and to make children’s eye exams fun for your little one. To book a children’s eye exam with a pediatric optometrist, call 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: How much does a children’s eye exam cost?
A: All children’s eye exams are covered by Alberta Health until your child reaches 18.

Q: When should my child receive their first eye exam?
A: Children should receive their first comprehensive eye exam at the age of 6 months old and then once before they enter school at the age of 3 or 4. After that, it is recommended that they visit their optometrist once every two years if they do not require vision corrections.

Q: How is a children’s eye exam conducted?
A: Children’s eye exams are non-invasive and will not cause any discomfort. The eye doctor will examine the eye and take imaging for a more detailed look. Depending on the age of the child, the optometrist may ask them questions to answer. If the child is too young or too nervous to be alone during an  eye exam, a parent or guardian may accompany the child.

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