Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects a person’s movement, balance and posture. It is caused by damage to the developing brain and occurs before birth or during early childhood.
Children with cerebral palsy often have a range of disabilities, including visual impairments. In fact, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about half of all children with cerebral palsy have some form of vision problem.
Types of Vision Problems in Children with Cerebral Palsy
Children with cerebral palsy may experience a range of vision problems, including:
- Strabismus: When the eyes don’t align properly, causing one eye to turn inward, outward, upward or downward.
- Nystagmus: Involuntary eye movement that makes it difficult to fixate on objects.
- Cortical visual impairment: Damage to the brain’s visual system, resulting in reduced vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or lenses.
How to Care for Your Child’s Eyes
Good eye care is important for all children, but it’s especially important for children with cerebral palsy. Here are some tips to help you care for your child’s eyes:
1. Schedule Regular Eye Exams
Regular eye exams are important for early detection and treatment of vision problems. Your child’s ophthalmologist will check for any signs of vision problems, such as refractive errors, strabismus or amblyopia. They may also recommend vision therapy or other treatments to improve your child’s visual function.
2. Provide Good Lighting
Make sure your child’s environment is well-lit, both at home and at school. Good lighting can help your child see better and reduce eye strain.
3. Encourage Eye Exercises
Eye exercises can help your child improve their visual function and reduce the risk of developing new vision problems. Your child’s vision therapist or ophthalmologist can recommend exercises that are appropriate for their age and level of ability.
4. Protect Your Child’s Eyes
Make sure your child wears appropriate eye gear during sports or other physical activities. Also, protect your child’s eyes from the sun with sunglasses or a hat.
Children with cerebral palsy may have a range of vision problems that can be addressed with early detection and treatment. By following these tips and working with your child’s ophthalmologist and vision therapist, you can help your child maintain good visual function and reduce the impact of vision problems on their daily life.
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