Common Vision Problems

About Common Vision Problems

It can be alarming if your child fails a vision screening test, but there’s no need to panic. Vision problems are often the result of a refractive error in the eye. Here at Columbia, our specialists have the skills, knowledge, and state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose why your child failed the vision test and then we take the necessary steps to make sure your child can see at their best. 


Refractive errors make it hard for your child to see clearly and correctly. In kids with refractive errors, light entering the eye is not bent correctly by the cornea and lens. This results in some of the most common vision problems for children and adults.

Conditions We Treat

Refractive conditions that we treat include:

  • Aniseikonia–a condition that causes each eye to perceive the size of objects differently.
  • Anisometropia–a condition in which each eye has a significant difference inability to focus on objects at a distance.  
  • Aphakia–a condition where the eye is missing an important focusing structure called the crystalline lens that accounts for approximately one-third of the eye's focusing power, and when it is missing, vision is drastically affected.
  • Astigmatism–a condition in which the cornea is curved unevenly, more in one direction than in another.
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)–the eye is too short, and the cornea is not curved enough. Images are focused on a point behind the retina. This makes it more difficult to see close-up objects, while faraway objects are seen more easily.
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)– the cornea is curved too much, or the eye is too long, and light gets focused in front of the retina. As a result, people with myopia can see close objects clearly, but distant objects appear blurry.
  • Presbyopia–a condition that causes problems with focusing on objects up close. This usually happens with age and is not as common in children. Around 40 to 50 years old, a person with presbyopia might realize he or she has trouble reading at close distances.


Symptoms of refractive errors can include:

  • Headaches
  • Diplopia or double vision
  • Disorientation or dizziness
  • Tearing
  • Eye pain or fatigue
  • Sensitivity to light  
  • Visual acuity issues
  • Difficulty reading
  • Nausea
  • Favoring one eye over another


Tests to diagnose refractive conditions include a visual acuity test of the eyes’ ability to see various objects of different sizes clearly and a retinoscopic examination measures reflected light projected onto the retina to determine the refractive error of each eye.

Different visual tests, that focus on depth perception and the direct comparison of image size perceived by each eye, are used to diagnose aniseikonia.

Treatments We Offer

We recommend immediate care for refractive errors. Treatments include:

  • corrective eyeglasses with different prescription strengths for each eye
  • “patching” or covering one eye is used to strengthen the less-favored eye
  • laser surgery to correct refractive error.

Why Choose Columbia?

Keep in mind, refractive errors are common, and most can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Columbia pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists can accurately diagnose why your child’s vision is compromised. We have the technology and the expertise to correct all vision focusing and acuity problems so your child can learn, grow, and thrive.