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Visual development and vision assessment in infants and children

David K Coats, MD
Section Editor
Evelyn A Paysse, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH


Vision assessment is an important part of the medical care of children (table 1). Some eye abnormalities that are not treated in the first few months (eg, cataracts, pronounced ptosis) or years (asymmetric refractive errors) of life can lead to irreversible vision loss [1,2]. Poor vision and vision loss also may be an early indication of serious or life-threatening diseases, such as retinoblastoma, lipid storage disorders, or peroxisomal disorders (table 2) [3,4]. (See "Retinoblastoma: Clinical presentation, evaluation, and diagnosis" and "Inborn errors of metabolism: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and clinical features".)

The development of the visual system and vision assessment in infants and children will be reviewed here. Specific ophthalmologic problems are discussed separately:

Strabismus (see "Evaluation and management of strabismus in children" and "Causes of horizontal strabismus in children" and "Causes of vertical strabismus in children")

Amblyopia (see "Amblyopia in children: Classification, screening, and evaluation" and "Amblyopia in children: Management and outcome")

Refractive error (see "Refractive errors in children")

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 05, 2017.
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