Nearly 20% of children under the age of 18 have pediatric eye condition . It is critical to care for a child’s eyes during their early years because they are rapidly growing and developing. Early detection of eye problems reduces potential damage and speeds up and improves treatment. As a result, parents should be aware of the most common pediatric eye conditions and their symptoms.

Common Pediatric Eye Conditions

Refractive Errors

Astigmatism (irregularly curved cornea), myopia (nearsightedness), and hyperopia (farsightedness) are the three most common refractive errors in children. These conditions cause blurred vision by preventing light from focusing on the correct part of the retina.

Warning signs include:

  • Squinting or head tilting on a regular basis.
  • After a child engages in visually demanding activities, he or she may experience headaches or eye strain.
  • Bringing books or digital screens up to one’s face.
  • Sitting in close proximity to a computer or television.


Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, occurs when one eye is weaker than the other and fails to achieve normal visual acuity or function. Amblyopia is difficult to diagnose because the child relies on their ‘good’ eye and may be unaware that they have a problem.

Warning signs include:

  • Difficulties reading, doing math, or participating in sports.
  • Difficulties paying attention and focusing.
  • Frequent closure of one eye.
  • Frequent eye rubbing.
  • Head cocked.
  • Squinting.

Binocular Vision Dysfunction

BVD is caused by the two eyes not cooperating due to a misalignment of the two eyes.

Warning signs include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Dual vision
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Travel sickness
  • Stress

Convergence Insufficiency

Convergence insufficiency is a binocular vision disorder that affects eye muscle coordination as well as near vision. It happens when the eyes can’t effectively work together to focus on a nearby object.

Warning signs include:

  • Difficulties with attention and concentration.
  • Vision distortion.
  • Dual vision.
  • Fatigue, particularly when reading.
  • Headaches.
  • The avoidance of homework.
  • Vertigo or motion sickness.
  • Below-grade-level reading.
  • Seeing words jump or move on the page.


Nystagmus is a condition that can be congenital or acquired and is characterized by rapid, involuntary back-and-forth eye movements. Congenital nystagmus manifests itself in the first few months of life, whereas acquired nystagmus manifests itself after 6 months.


Cataracts affect people of all ages, not just adults. Every year, an estimated 20,000-40,000 children are born with cataracts. Cataracts occur when one or both eyes’ normally clear lenses become clouded. Depending on the position and intensity of the cataract, it may impair vision.

Warning signs include:

  • Having trouble recognizing faces and seeing objects.
  • Eyes that point in various directions.
  • Pupil color can be gray or white.
  • Nystagmus


Strabismus occurs when the eyes are misaligned, turned, or “crossed.” Untreated, it can result in amblyopia and permanent vision loss. An eye turn may be noticed soon after birth or may appear suddenly around the age of two.

Warning signs include:

  • An eye that can be directed inward, outward, upward, or downward.
  • Squinting that is excessive and frequent, especially in bright light.
  • In an attempt to align the eyes, the head tilts.

Vision Therapy

The goal of vision therapy is to improve visual skills so that the eyes, visual system, and brain are communicating effectively. Your child’s eye doctor will probably suggest a specialized vision therapy program if they identify any of the aforementioned eye conditions in your child.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor to receive a thorough eye examination and to ask any questions you may have about how to care for your child’s eyes. Early detection of eye issues in your child can reduce potential harm and enable a quicker, more efficient course of treatment.

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Image by Amanda McConnell from Pixabay