Visual Problems and Its Effects on Child Development

Visual impairments pose a great risk to proper child development from infancy to early adolescence, invariably compromising the overall cognitive, emotional, social and physical wellbeing of the child (Gilbert et al., 2003). Demissie and Demissie (2014) estimated that 19 million children globally experience visual impairments and 80% of these cases are considered avoidable (WHO report, 2018). Approximately three-quarters of the world’s blind children live in Africa and Asia. However, 7.28% and 9.7% of the children who are visually impaired live in Ethiopia (Bezabih, 2017) and South-Eastern Nigeria (Okoye, 2013), respectively.

It is important to note that causes of visual impairment in children vary across different regions in the world. Although, amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye is the most diagnosed visual impairment that hinders learning and the development of fine motor skills in children. Bezabih (2017), concluded that 75-90% of learning occurs totally or partially through the visual pathway, proving the fact that vision impairments would inhibit the natural learning and social interaction process in children.

To further improve the quality of life of children, how do we reduce the burden of developmental disorders in children due to visual problems? What are the necessary interventions that could be used to address vision problems in children? What mediums do you suggest could increase the level of awareness of vision problems and its effects on child development?

Education, in schools

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This is very crucial to reducing the burden of childhood development disorders due to visual problems.

These statistics are really dire and i feel the best way to tackle this problem is a change in attitude of parents and teachers alike, whenever a child isn’t doing too well in school we should seek to understand why rather than resorting to corporal punishments and all that. That child could just have a correctable visual impairment that’s preventing Him/her from attaining full potential. The earlier these things are caught the better it’ll be for the child and the societ.

Awareness is still the most important thing, especially initiatives specifically targeted at schools would make a great deal of difference.

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So basically, specific awareness programs should be targeted at school teachers. I like this idea and think it ought to be adopted.

Parents and teachers at school are usually the first one of individuals that can notice a developmental disorder. So they should be sensitized on the right course of action . Many people just ignore the child or resort to punishments without finding out what could be wrong.
Children should be taken for Regular eye exams by parents/guardians and for a wider reach, visual screening by charity organisations can also be of help to children.

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Parents should be advised to take their children for eye check up at least three times a year

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A very valid point. Kids spend a good amount of time at schools, and educating the teachers in identifying children with visual needs can help to address this issue to a large extent.

Visiting an eye professional will help determine the number of visits in a year; eye appointment varies depending on the eye condition.