Visual Impairment

What is vision loss?

One eye of a child with vision loss could look out or cross. One or both eyes could be watery, and one or Vision loss means that a person’s eyesight is not corrected both of the child’s eyelids could also look red-rimmed, to a “normal” level. Vision loss can vary greatly among crusted, or swollen. children and can be caused by many things.

What causes loss of vision?

Vision loss can be caused by damage to the eye itself, by the eye being shaped incorrectly, or even by a problem in the brain. Babies can be born unable to see, and vision loss can occur anytime during a person’s life.

When should my child be checked?

Your child should be checked for vision problems by an ophthalmologist, optometrist, pediatrician, or other trained specialist at:

  • newborn to 3 months
  • 6 months to 1 year
  • about 3 years
  • about 5 years

Having your child’s vision checked is especially important if someone in your family has had vision problems.

What are some of the signs of vision loss?

A child with vision loss might:

  • close or cover one eye
  • squint the eyes or frown
  • complain that things are blurry or hard to see
  • have trouble reading or doing other close-up work,
  • hold objects close to eyes in order to see
  • blink more than usual or seem cranky when doing close-up work (such as looking at books)

Source: CDC Vision Loss Fact Sheet

Other common signs that a child may have a visual impairment include:

  • Eyes that don’t move together when following an object or a face
  • Crossed eyes, eyes that turn out or in, eyes that flutter from side to side or up and down, or eyes that do not seem to focus
  • Eyes that bulge, dance, or bounce in rapid rhythmic movements
  • Pupils that are unequal in size or that appear white instead of black
  • Repeated shutting or covering of one eye (as noticed with Julian)
  • Unusual degree of clumsiness, such as frequent bumping into things or knocking things over
  • Frequent squinting, blinking, eye-rubbing, or face crunching, especially when there’s no bright light present
  • Sitting too close to the TV or holding toys and books too close to the face
  • Avoiding tasks and activities that require good vision

If any of these symptoms are present, parents will want to have their child’s eyes professionally examined. Early detection and treatment are very important to the child’s development.

Source: NICHCY Disability Fact Sheet 13 (FS13)