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Vision Impairment and Depression

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Did you know that your child’s vision can play a part in their mental and emotional well-being?

New research suggests that children with myopia (nearsightedness) are at significantly higher risk of depression and anxiety than their peers that enjoy healthy 20/20 vision.

Similar research also suggests that surgery to fix the misalignment of the eyes, known as strabismus or crossed eyes, can significantly improve symptoms of depression and anxiety in children.

Worldwide, as many as 19 million children below the age of 14 years have vision impairment or are completely sightless. Though less common in children than adults, these conditions can have emotional as well as physical consequences when not identified and corrected as soon as possible.

The connection between vision issues and depression and anxiety aren’t fully understood. However, researchers believe that vision problems can cause social isolation, lower participation in physical activities such as sports, and make it harder to function in school. What’s more, strabismus and similar conditions can negatively impact a child’s development,  maturity, appearance and self-confidence, all potentially increasing the risk of depression and/or anxiety.

This research is important as a guide stone for healthcare planners, who need to know how best to use healthcare resources and keep children healthy, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. For example, strabismus surgery is sometimes seen as an optional cosmetic procedure, meaning that it’s not covered by insurance. When this happens, families who may not be able to afford it are forced to pay out-of-pocket, or face an increased risk of their child suffering from depression or anxiety.

At Child & Family Eye Care we believe that more accessible eye care can help your child live their happiest, healthiest life.

Want to learn more about how to keep your child’s eyesight clear and their eyes healthy? Contact our The Woodlands eye doctors at Child & Family Eye Care today.


Why should strabismus be treated immediately?

The sooner strabismus is treated, the lower the chance of vision loss. Furthermore,  the depression and anxiety linked to strabismus are at least partially linked to the reduction in quality of life inherent in significant vision loss.

Will my child’s strabismus correct itself?

No. Many people believe that strabismus is a condition that children often grow out of. Unfortunately this is untrue. As a matter of fact, untreated strabismus often gets worse, not better, over time. If your child is over 4 months old, and their eyes still don’t seem to align, contact your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam.