Common Visual Problems in Children With Disability

Eye disorders can affect any child, but children with developmental disabilities are at a higher risk. Children with intellectual disabilities have a 10% risk of experiencing visual impairment, according to studies published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. Consider the following situations and the risks they entail:

Down Syndrome
A child with Down syndrome is more likely to develop strabismus (misalignment of the eyes while looking at an object) and nystagmus (repetitive, uncontrolled movements of the eyes). Blockage of tear ducts and irregularly formed corneas are also common in children with Down syndrome. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, children with Down syndrome are also more likely than the general population to develop cataracts at a young age.

Certain behaviors, such as looking at spinning objects, trouble maintaining eye contact, and odd head positions, are common in children with autism. While not all habits are caused by a problem with the eyes, in some cases, visual behaviors can be influenced by an eye disorder.

Eye problems must be ruled out. In a study of children with autism, it was discovered that 40% of the children had strabismus, also known as crossed eyes. Children with autism also have a greater chance of developing a lazy eye.

Cerebral Palsy
common visual problems in children with disability

Visual impairments are very common in children with cerebral palsy. Children with CP are more likely than the general population to be nearsighted or farsighted. The more serious a child’s motor disorder, the more likely they are to have vision issues.

Vision Problems Management
common visual problems in children with disability
There are many approaches to dealing with vision problems. Treatment options can range from simple corrective lenses to more aggressive approaches. The specific treatment depends on the nature of the issue. Treatment options include:

● Surgery
● Glasses
● Low vision devices
● Eye patches

It is best to maintain a routine eye exam schedule to detect problems with the eyes right before they become severe. Keep an eye out for symptoms that may indicate vision problems such as:

● Squinting
● Frequent rubbing of eyes
● Crossed eyes
● Frequently slanting one’s head to one side
● Headaches
● Holding books and other items very close
● Sensitivity to light

Consider the Best Frame Type for Your Child’s Glasses

common visual problems in children with disability

Children’s vision disorders are often treated with eyeglasses, but not all lenses are created equal. Typical glasses would not be suitable for your child’s developmental condition. Children with Down syndrome, for example, frequently have unusual facial features that make typical frames awkward. There are a lot of frames to choose from, and one of them may be a better choice.

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