What causes poor eyesight in toddlers?

Eyesight develops from infancy until around the age of ten. When you’re firstborn, you don’t have 20/20 vision. Some children are born with vision issues due to poor genetics, while others develop eye problems during childhood. 

To ensure your child’s eyes are healthy, you must schedule routine eye exams, especially before they start school, even if they don’t complain about their vision.

Common vision issues in children

Many vision problems in children can be corrected with glasses, contacts, or even surgery, but parents must be aware of the common vision issues among children.

  • Nearsightedness: ability to see objects up close but struggles with long-distance
  • Farsightedness: ability to see objects that are far away but struggles with short-distance
  • Astigmatism: blurred or distorted vision due to the shape of the cornea

Keep in mind that these are the most common vision problems; there are other vision problems children can have or develop that may need additional treatment.

Causes of vision loss in children

Often, genetics is the cause of vision loss in children. If a parent has nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, etc., there is a great chance their child will have the same problem.

Other causes of vision loss include:

  • Amblyopia: a common condition (also known as “lazy eye”) that occurs when your eye fails to develop its vision. 
  • Eye infection
  • Eye or head injury
  • Detached retina

Aside from an eye injury or infection, the other causes are less common among children.

When should I call an eye doctor?

Routine eye exams are essential to your child’s overall health and will help you stay on top of any potential vision problems. Call your eye doctor as soon as possible if your child’s eyes:

  • Are red
  • Look different than usual
  • Are more watery than usual
  • Don’t line up or move together
  • Has disproportionate pupils
  • Seem sensitive to light
  • Can’t see far away or up close

In general, if your child is complaining about their eyes—vision, discomfort, etc.—they should visit the eye doctor. The sooner an eye problem is diagnosed, the sooner it can be corrected.

Always be on the lookout for symptoms of vision problems because children will not always tell you. If you are a parent who has vision problems, too, keep in mind that it does get passed down through genetics.