Eyesight problems are endured by people of all ages, including infants. The reasons for vision loss in infants could be many, varying from complications during pregnancy to other growth defects. Blindness can be caused at birth or pre-birth. Hence, eyes should be examined carefully to check the symptoms.
The most common cause for blindness at birth is congenital cataracts, resulting in undetectable vision loss in infants until the age of 3. Doctors suggest a necessary eye examination of children at six months of age. This can be followed by follow-up eye examinations at the ages of 3 and 6 consecutively.
Other common causes of vision problems include extended screen times, damage caused by UV rays, and eye trauma. You can avoid them by using UV blocking glasses for screen usage or under the sun and safety goggles while playing sports or working at risky sites. You can also change your prescription glasses to glasses that block blue light by simply changing the lenses and getting ones with UV blocking coating. Brands like Warby Parker, Zenni Optical and Overnight Glasses offer a large variety of such options at affordable prices.
What are the causes of blindness at birth?
A portion of your child’s brain controls the functionality and the development of your child’s vision. Any development issues of that portion may impact vision. Another potential threat to the eyesight of your child is ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity). It is a condition in infants that affects their retina’s blood vessels.
It is likely to prevail in premature babies weighing less than 3 pounds. Their retina may not have been fully developed at birth, and this can cause oxygen to impede absorption around the retina. The underdeveloped retina gets alerted to make new blood vessels, which get congested and leak fluids. This gives rise to scars or marks, making the retina relocate from behind the eye as the child grows. This retinal detachment causes blindness or blurry vision.
The AOA (American Optometric Association) warns that an infant having various other health issues and weighs low at birth is prone to develop Retinopathy of Prematurity.
Blindness Symptoms in Babies
You should be wary of blindness symptoms in your babies if they are born less than 3 pounds at birth. Consult an eye doctor to keep an eye out for certain symptoms of blindness. The eye doctor will make the babies go through some eye exercises to observe their functionality together and apart. They will also check the response of your child’s eye to light. If the light doesn’t affect your child at all, it is a sign of concern regarding your baby’s vision.
The most common symptoms of blindness in babies are given below. Mothers of premature and underweight babies should keep a close watch for them.
- Light sensitivity
- Irregular eye movement
- Discolouring of the pupils
- Touching the eyes often
- Red eyes
However, these do not doom your baby’s world into darkness. Some can be present just to give time to the baby’s eyes to develop. If these symptoms frequently occur together, you should treat it as a medical emergency and immediately consult a good optometry doctor.
Causes of Complete Vision Loss
Vision loss can be either partial or complete. Both these types of vision loss can happen over time or suddenly. It could even affect only one eye instead of both. Some vision losses may be temporary, and proper care can treat them.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and prevention), vision deterioration is among the top 10 dysfunctions in adults and children alike. About 1 million people in the United States are entirely blind, and over 12 million have impartial vision loss. This statistic is predicted to increase many folds till 2050 due to rising illnesses and decreasing immunity. Some forms of partial vision loss are also associated with aging.
Sudden Vision Loss Causes
Several conditions can cause vision loss. Some of them are discussed below.
Staring at the screen for too long is one of the chief reasons for strain upon the eyes. Eye strain makes vision blurry. Blindness caused due to eye strain is temporary, and sight can be regained by staying well away from the screen.
Research shows that the 20-20-20 rule can help to prevent vision loss due to eye strain. The 20-20-20 rule means that after staring at the screen for 20 minutes, you should look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This could be a lifesaver and prevent sudden vision loss.
Keratitis is a medical condition that causes inflammation of the cornea. It is likely to occur in people using contact lenses. Also, an eye infection or injury may cause Keratitis. Complete loss of vision depends on the degree of severity of Keratitis. A mild degree may cause blurred vision, whereas severe Keratitis causes total vision loss.
Vision loss due to Keratitis is curable, and proper care can reverse the symptoms.
This disease is also known as pinkeye and happens due to infection and inflammation of the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis is the real culprit behind redness of the eye, pain, etc.
Corneal abrasion is an eye injury that can cause severe vision issues. Therefore, it is usually advised to wear safety goggles during sports, or risky site works.