standard-title Common Childhood Eye Diseases and Conditions

Common Childhood Eye Diseases and Conditions

Common Childhood Eye Diseases and Conditions

Refractive error: Refractive errors can generally be divided into nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. The condition can be corrected by wearing appropriate glasses so that patients can see clear vision.



1.   Nearsightedness (myopia)  

A condition in which the eyeball is too long or the lens is too thick, subsequently, the images of distant objects form in front of the retina, causing the patient unable to see distant objects clearly while they see close objects more clearly.

Nearsightedness equal to or greater than -6.0 diopters or 600 degrees is classified as “high myopia”. High myopia is caused by congenital or acquired reasons. Congenital high myopia is pathological and so it is difficult to control the progression. According to recent research, specially designed corrective lenses which reduce peripheral vision may be able to slow the development of myopia of children aged 6 to 12 by 30%. The reason for acquired myopia is related to the use of the eyes. For example, continuously focusing at near objects causes spasm of the muscles which control eye focusing. As a result, the lens stays at a high refractive state for a long period of time. Allowing the eyes to take more rest can slow the progression of acquired myopia.


Nearsightedness: The patient can see near objects clearly but has trouble seeing things far away.


2.   Farsightedness (hyperopia)

A condition where light is focused behind the retina because the eyeball is too short or the lens is too thin, resulting in unclear close vision.

Young persons with mild hyperopia do not experience symptoms because they can compensate by focusing the lens. Persons in their 40s with mild hyperopia cannot see near objects clearly since the adjustability of the lens is decreasing. Moderate to severe hyperopia causes blurred vision for both near and distant objects because the condition cannot be compensated by adjusting the lens.


Being farsighted: Far vision is clearer than near vision.


3.   Astigmatism

A condition caused by an irregular curvature of the eye’s cornea, that is, some parts of the cornea are flatter or more curved than the others so light cannot be focused correctly on the retina. Astigmatism is normally an inherited condition. Persons with astigmatism experience blurred or distorted vision at both near and far distances, and in generally, they concurrently have nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Preschool children with astigmatism experience vision that is partly clear and partly unclear, which causes them to develop habits such as head tilting and squinting. Parents should bring their children for eye examination as soon as possible so as not to miss the best treatment time. If left untreated, the children can develop amblyopia. Vision improvement is not obvious at the early stage of wearing corrective glasses; yet parents should encourage their children to wear the glasses continuously.



4.   Strabismus

A condition where the eyes do not look in the same direction. Strabismus is a condition of concern because it:

can be indicative of abnormal brain development
can lead to incomplete development of visual depth
can cause amblyopia
is unsightly and can impact self-esteem in social situations

The corrective methods include wearing appropriate glasses, using prisms, eye exercises and surgery.



5.   Amblyopia (lazy eye)

A condition where there is a lack of vision in one eye due to eye diseases or other reasons, which causes the brain to ignore the image from the amblyopic eye.
Reasons: The general reasons include refractive errors, strabismus or other eye diseases (such as cataract).
Treatment: Patching or covering the strong eye to force the brain to receive the image from the weaker eye.

If amblyopia is diagnosed after the age of visual development, that is, when the child has already reached the age of 8 or 9, it may become uncorrectable, and the child may not be able to take up jobs requiring good eyesight such as piloting. Parents should take their children to an ophthalmologist for a check-up as soon as possible so as not to miss the best treatment time.


6.   Stye and Chalazion

Stye or chalazion is formed when oil glands in the eyelid are clogged, which causes bacterial infection and inflammation.



– Take good care of personal hygiene.


– Apply a warm boiled egg to the outer eyelid to speed up the unclogging of oil glands.


– Surgical removal.


7.   Computer Usage and the Eye

Generally, the radiation produced by computers and display monitors causes no harm to the human body (including our eyes).

However, when our eyes are focused on the computer screen, we blink less, which makes the eyes feel tired and dry.

Prolonged use of the eye muscles can cause false myopia.


8.   Proper Ways to Use Computers:

Maintain a distance of 50 – 70 cm between the eyes and the computer screen
Height of the computer screen: slighter below the eye level
Brightness of the computer screen: slightly brighter than the surroundings
Blink regularly
Let your eyes take a break for 2 minutes every half hour

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for reference only. They are not, and should not be used as, diagnoses, medical treatments or recommendations for any drug. For enquiries, please contact Champion Eye Centre.