Causes of Blindness
- Blindness can develop before birth. This can be caused by parts of the nerves in the eyes that may fail to form properly. In such a case, the eyes may look okay, but the brain is having difficulty processing the information it receives.
- An accident
- A few illnesses such as diabetes and cataracts
Signs of Blindness or Vision Impairment
Closely observe your baby during their early development stage. Eye exams are a vital way to identify issues with vision, but before taking your child through one, look out for these early signs:-
- Cannot track or follow an object with their eyes
- Unable to make steady eye contact
- Is not smiling at or with familiar faces
- Quick movement of eyes from side to side
- No reaction to bright light
Some of the later Signs may include:
- Misaligned eyes
- Quick fluttering of eyes
- Greyish white or white color in the pupil
- Discomfort in the eyes i.e. scratching or pain
- Crust or pus in the eye
- Redness of the eyes that lasts more than a few days
- Sensitivity to light
- Watery eyes
- Drooping eyelids
If you notice any of these signs, consult a doctor immediately.
Can Blindness Affect Baby’s Development?
A baby’s development involves learning through exploration with all their senses. Blindness affects one if these senses, indefinitely slowing your child down in various ways. Some of these include the following:-
- Not seeing other people, ultimately hindering communication
- Walking, sitting, and crawling will be difficult as most babies start to move towards interesting and/or colourful items around them.
- The child may not be able to play, hence slowing their social skills.
- Teaching how to read and write will be a challenge
- The child may be afraid to touch unfamiliar textures thus limiting the learning process
- Difficulty telling the difference between night and day
Eventually, the child will adjust to their situation, although they will take much longer to learn things.
The best person to see is an ophthalmologist. Depending on the hospital you’re at, your doctor can recommend a specialist to see. The ophthalmologist will test the baby’s eyesight by placing a toy in front of them and monitoring their reaction. There can also be special vision tests done using special lighting and medication. This may now facilitate the introduction of a treatment plan.
Treating and Managing Blindness
Treatment of blindness depends largely on the cause of the problem. If the situation is irreversible, the family will need to adjust to accommodate the child. Your child may need to use a walking stick to find his way. Introduce it to him and help him use it until he gets used to the idea. Create a routine for him, describe his environment to him, and encourage him to learn new skills. It may be helpful to also find a support group, not just for your child, but you as a caregiver as well.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019