Common eyesight problems in children

Sep 24, 2019 in Eye Care

Children gathered round laptop

Eyesight problems affect both young and old. Here’s a quick overview of the most common eyesight problems that can affect school-age children.

The kids are back to school and the chaos of the summer holidays has given way to the chaos of term time. But if the summer holidays were too hectic to arrange your children’s medical check-ups (and don’t worry, you weren’t alone!) then term time could be the perfect opportunity to take a peek at the calendar and book an eye test for the little ones.

It’s essential to make sure your kids have regular eye tests as they grow to diagnose any conditions as early as possible. Here’s a quick reference sheet listing some of the most common problems we see in children’s eye care:

Hypermetropia (long-sightedness)

When someone is long-sighted, they can see distant objects more clearly but have more difficulty seeing things up close. If untreated, your child can develop further associated eye problems such as a squint or a lazy eye. Hypermetropia can affect your child’s education, especially with reading and concentrating for long periods of time.

Myopia (short-sightedness)

People who are short-sighted have difficulty seeing distant objects but can see more clearly up close. The condition is very common and often begins between the ages of around 6 and 13. If your child sits really close to the TV, complains of headaches, is always rubbing their eyes, or has to sit at the front of the classroom to see the board properly, they may be short-sighted.

child in glasses


Astigmatism is a distortion in the vision. If the surface of the eye is not perfectly rounded but shaped more like a rugby ball, we have astigmatism. This can cause headaches, blurry vision and eye strain.

Hypermetropia, Myopia and Astigmatism are all managed with spectacles or contact lenses.

Amblyopia (lazy eye)

Children are particularly at risk of amblyopia when one eye is more long-sighted than the other. The eye with the stronger prescription can become lazy and fail to develop properly. Around 1 in 50 children develop a lazy eye and it’s difficult to treat after the age of six, so the earlier this is found - the more successful treatment is likely to be.

Strabismus (squint)

Squints are where the eyes point in different directions. It can either come and go or be present all the time. There are various ways to treat a squint, from corrective glasses to surgery and it’s important to get diagnosis and management as soon as possible as the condition can cause further problems as your child gets older (such as amblyopia).

Colour Vision Deficiency

More commonly known as colour blindness, the condition is usually inherited and inhibits the ability to distinguish between different colours correctly. If you are concerned about your child’s colour vision, a quick simple colour vision test can be carried out as part of a routine eye exam.

Many of these conditions need to be managed early before the problem becomes more serious, but they can be tricky for parents to spot. That’s why we recommend children’s eye exams by the age of three and then at least every two years after.

Book today

At Leightons we are specialists in family eye care. Book an appointment with us today, either online, over the phone on 0800 40 20 20, or at your local branch.

We can advise you on the best type of children’s prescription glasses, special prescription goggles for playing sport, and other treatment plans depending on your child’s requirement.


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