What are the causes of low vision in children and their symptoms?
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Children with low vision (visually impaired) go through really hard time including their parents as they are worried about their child’s future. Low vision makes it difficult for the children to read a book, learn solving problems, explore the world, and play with their friends. In other words, they are not independent.
According to RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blindness), over 25000 children are visually impaired in the UK. The figure is expected to grow every year as according to a research done by RNIB in 2017, the estimated figure for the number of people (including children) with the sight loss in UK is 4,145,000.
So, what are the causes of low vision? There are numerous causes of low vision and the most common causes are listed below along with their symptoms:
1. CVI (Cerebral Visual Impairment) – This happens when one or more of the brain parts which is involved in “seeing” is affected. The interesting part of this cause is, eyes would look normal and healthy during the eye test, but during the vision test, vision would look abnormal. When children see something, the images are sent to the brain for the visual process. If the brain fails to process the image, then the children would have problem with the vision. This happens mostly because of preterm birth when there is a lack of oxygen supply to their brain. There are numerous symptoms for this. Some of them are:
· Not recognizing familiar faces.
· Child appears to see less well when tired.
· Gets lost or anxious in crowded places.
· Regular bumping into things while talking.
· Not making eye contact.
2. Albinism – It happens when the melanin production is affected. Melanin is responsible for skin, hair and eye colour. Low level of melanin also affects the vision of a child as they are also used in the development of retina (light sensitive lining at the back of the eye). Common symptoms are:
· Rapid back and forth movement of eyes (nystagmus).
· Light sensitive.
· Near sightedness and farsightedness.
· Eyes pointing in different direction.
3. Cataracts - Cataracts are the cloudiness that appear in the eye’s lens while its clear in a healthy eye. This happens when the proteins in lens are clumped together. Not all cataracts interfere with the lens as some are small but if they interfere with the vision, then low vision will occur. Common symptoms are:
· A white or grey pupil
· Eyes are misaligned.
· Seeing a circle around an object
All these causes get worse if they are not treated early which is why research have claimed that visual rehabilitation in early stages would help your child to use the remaining vision properly and to its full extent. Rehabilitation could be visual stimulation using colourful objects, showing them the objects in vision and so on. Our product, “can-eye” provides various types of visual stimulation exercises and based upon your child’s issues, it recommends a certain module for your child.