Causes of Vision Loss


The most common causes of vision loss globally are uncorrected refractive errors (43%), cataracts (33%), and glaucoma (2%). Refractive errors include near-sighted, farsighted, presbyopia, and astigmatism. Other disorders that may cause visual problems include age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, corneal clouding, childhood blindness, and a number of infections. Vision loss can also be caused by problems in the brain due to stroke, prematurity, or trauma among others. These cases are known as cortical visual impairment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of vision problems are either preventable or curable with treatment. This includes cataracts, trachoma, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, uncorrected refractive errors, and some cases of childhood blindness. Many people with significant vision loss benefit from vision rehabilitation, changes in their environmental, and assistive devices. As of 2012 there were 285 million people who have vision loss in the world of which 246 million had low vision and 39 million were blind.

The Birth to Five Vision Network has put together a table of developmental milestones for students with blindness and vision impairment that might prove helpful in gaining an understanding of developmental milestones.


Signs There May Be Vision Loss

During the first year of a baby's life their vision will continue to develop. As your baby is growing, look for the following signs that may indicate eye and/or vision problems:

  • One eye appears crossed or turns out
  • Tilting of head to see
  • Eyes are consistently red or tearing
  • Rubbing their eyes often
  • Sensitive to light

As your child moves on to school-age, look for the following signs that may indicate an eye or vision problem has developed:

  • Closes or covers one eye
  • Has difficulty reading the board in school
  • Tilts head
  • Has trouble reading or doing other close-up work
  • Expresses that things are blurry or hard to see
  • Squints eyes
  • Complaining of headaches

If parents or professionals notice any eye problems, be sure to have the child examined immediately. If caught early enough, some eye conditions can be corrected.