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Discovering that your child has blurry vision can be quite upsetting for parents. How long has their vision been blurry? Is the blurry vision impacting their ability to perform in the classroom or on the sporting field? Will it improve? Will it get worse? What is wrong with their vision? Is the vision blurry in one eye or both? Why didn’t I notice that there was something wrong with their vision? These are common questions asked by parents when their child reports blurry vision. 

The most important thing to do when your child reports that their vision is blurry is to take them for a comprehensive eye examination. An experienced optometrist knows the right questions to ask in order to get relevant information from your child. You would be surprised to know that even a 5 year old can provide reliable feedback which can assist an optometrist to make a diagnosis of their eye problem

What are the main causes of blurred vision in children?

  • Refractive error
  • Binocular vision dysfunction
  • Amblyopia
  • Eye disease

The most common cause of blurred vision in school aged children is a refractive error problem. A refractive error problem refers to myopia (shortsightedness), hyperopia (longsightedness) or astigmatism. These conditions are usually remediated with glasses or contact lenses. A refractive error problem can occur in one or both eyes. It can present at any age and requires monitoring over time. Typically refractive error will not improve over time.

The next most common cause of blurred vision in children is binocular vision dysfunction This type of eye problem is often detected in school-aged children when the eyes are used more frequently for tasks such as reading and writing. The problem occurs when a child’s two eyes decide not to work well together.  A binocular vision dysfunction can impact a child’s ability to focus or accommodate. It can also affect their eyes’ ability to converge effectively when reading. Frequently, a binocular vision dysfunction results in intermittent blurred vision when performing certain tasks such as reading. A binocular vision dysfunction can be supported with eye exercises and/or glasses for reading and other near tasks. It is possible for a binocular vision problem to improve over time, especially if a child develops their focussing and convergence skills through vision therapy eye exercises.

Amblyopia (lazy eye) is a less common cause of blurred vision in children but it is an important problem to treat if detected. Amblyopia usually occurs due to an eye turn or significant refractive error. An eye is deemed amblyopic when the vision doesn’t improve to anticipated levels despite correcting the eye turn or refractive error. This is caused by the wiring going from the eye to the brain being poorly developed due to poor vision or a turned eye. Over time, if the refractive error is corrected with glasses or contact lenses and the eyes remain straight, the vision in the amblyopic eye improves.  The treatment for amblyopia is determined by the cause. It is usually glasses or possibly eye muscle surgery if the cause is due to an eye turn.

The final cause of blurred vision in a child is eye disease. Eye diseases in children are not common but need to be ruled out. The best way to determine if eye disease is the cause of your child’s blurred vision is a comprehensive eye examination.

What should you do if you have concerns?

If you have concerns about your child having blurred vision, our optometrists are well equipped to examine their eyes and identify the cause of their vision problem. So whether it’s blurred vision when reading or uncertainty regarding your child’s ability to see the board, we are here to help. You can get in contact with our friendly team by calling (03) 9909 5329 or complete our online form.