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Vision impairment

13 April 2022

What is vision impairment, low vision and blindness?

There are many types and degrees of vision impairment and low vision, which can range from having very poor eyesight to total blindness. In order to be diagnosed as blind, a person’s sight must be so limited that they cannot perform certain activities of daily living, such as reading or writing.

What causes vision impairment?

There are many different causes of vision impairment, including:

- Eye disease or injury

- Birth defects

- Trauma

- Infection

- Tumors

- Diabetes

How common is vision impairment?

Vision impairment is relatively common in children and adolescents. According to the National Eye Institute, about 12 percent of children in the United States have some form of vision impairment.

What are the signs and symptoms of vision impairment?

There are a number of signs and symptoms that may indicate vision impairment, including:

- Difficulty reading or seeing the blackboard in school

- Frequent headaches

- Avoidance of bright lights

- Poor hand-eye coordination

- Trouble tracking moving objects

If you suspect your child has vision impairment, it is important to take them to an eye doctor for a comprehensive exam. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to minimize the impact of vision impairment on your child’s life.

If you think your child may have vision impairment, schedule an appointment with their pediatrician or an ophthalmologist right away. The earlier vision impairment is detected, the better chance there is of minimizing its impact.

How is vision impairment diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye exam is the best way to diagnose vision impairment. This exam includes tests of your child’s visual acuity, eye muscle function, and peripheral vision, as well as an assessment of the health of their eyes.

What are the effects of vision impairment?

The effects of vision impairment can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. In some cases, vision impairment may only cause mild difficulties with reading or other activities. However, in more severe cases, it can lead to total blindness and a complete loss of independence.

If left untreated, vision impairment can have a significant negative impact on a child’s development. It can interfere with their ability to learn, play, and socialize. In some cases, it may even lead to depression or anxiety.

What treatments and therapies are available for children with vision impairment?

There is no cure for vision impairment, but there are a number of treatments and therapies that can help children cope with the condition. These include:

- Specialized education and training

- Assistive devices and technology

- Low vision aids

- Orientation and mobility training

- Counseling and support groups

With early diagnosis and treatment

What financial support is available for children with vision impairment in Australia?

The Australian government provides a number of financial assistance programs for children with vision impairment. These include the Disability Support Pension, the Carer Payment, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).If you think your child may have vision impairment, don’t wait to get them help. Schedule an appointment with their doctor or an ophthalmologist right away. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to minimizing the impact of vision impairment on your child’s life.

How do you look after yourself and your family?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to look after yourself and your family will depend on your individual circumstances. However, here are a few general tips:

- Stay informed about your child’s condition and treatment options

- Seek out support from other families in similar situations

- Join a support group for parents of children with vision impairment

- Advocate for your child’s needs in school and other activities

- Take care of your own physical and emotional health

Looking after yourself and your family can be challenging, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources and support systems available to help you through this journey.

If you are the parent or carer of a child with vision impairment, there are a number of support services available to help you. These include:

- The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (RCH) - Vision Impairment Service

- The Victorian Foundation for the Blind (VFB)

- Blindness Australia

- Vision Australia

There are also a number of support groups available, which can provide you with practical advice and emotional support. These include:

- Parents of Children with Visual Impairment (PCVI)

- The Australian Council for the Blind (ACB)

- The National Braille Council (NBC)

If you are looking for financial support, there are a number of government benefits and concessions available. For more information, contact the Department of Human Services or your local state or territory government office.

You can also find more information and resources on the Vision Australia website.

The bottom line

If you think your child may have vision impairment, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference to your child’s development and quality of life.

For more information on vision impairment in children, please visit:

-Australian College of Optometry: Vision Impairment in Children

-Raising Children Network: Vision problems in children

-National Eye Institute: Children’s Vision

-American Academy of Pediatrics: Children and Vision Impairment

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vision Health in Babies and Children

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