Vision Problems in Children

Common problems for children’s vision include vision loss, lazy eye, crossed eyes, astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Almost 3 percent of children have vision loss. Vision loss is the absence of vision, or a loss of vision that can’t be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Amblyopia also called “lazy eye,” is the most common cause of vision loss in children, and impacts 2 percent of children under the age of five. Amblyopia commonly starts when one eye has better focus than the other. Over time the connections between the weaker eye and brain do not work as well. This results in decreased vision in an eye that otherwise appears normal.

Up to 4 percent of young children are affected by strabismus. Strabismus, also called “cross eyes,” is any misalignment of the eyes, and can be a cause of amblyopia.


Refractive Errors are the most common vision problems in children. There are three types:
1blurred stack of books with an apple on top with a blurred chalkboard in the background, demonstrating astigmatism

Astigmatism affects up to 28 percent of children over 5 years of age, more so in children of color. Astigmatism occurs because of an irregularity in the shape of the cornea or lens of the eye and causes blurry vision at all distances. Children with myopia or hyperopia are more likely to have astigmatism.

2Blurry image of a stack of books with an apple on top and a sharp, clear image of a chalkboard in the background, demonstrating hyperopic vision.

Hyperopia, also called “farsightedness,” affects 21 percent of children under 5 years of age. Hyperopia occurs when visual images come to focus behind instead of on the retina of the eye, which causes near objects to appear blurry and distant objects to appear clear and focused.

3Sharp, clear image of a stack of books with an apple on top, and a blurred image of a chalkboard in the background, demonstrating myopic vision.

Myopia, also called “nearsightedness,” affects 5 percent of children over 5 years of age. Myopia occurs when visual images come to focus in front of instead of on the retina of the eye, which causes distant objects to appear blurry and objects up close appear clear and focused.