What Causes Bad Eyesight at a Young Age? A Guide

What Causes Bad Eyesight at a Young Age? A Guide

Although it is true that bad vision can run in families, there are some habits you may have developed that will eventually cause your vision to deteriorate. Here are a few of the most popular unhealthy behaviors that you should try to avoid



Some eye conditions and refractive errors, such as myopia or astigmatism, can be passed down through families. 


Extended use of electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers can strain the eyes and contribute to eyesight issues.


Spending long hours doing tasks that require intense focus up close, such as reading or studying, can strain the eyes. 


Insufficient lighting or excessive glare can put a strain on the eyes and potentially lead to vision problems. 


Nutritional deficiencies, particularly in vitamins A, C, and E, can impact eye health and contribute to poor eyesight.


Not wearing appropriate eye protection during activities like sports or certain occupations can increase the risk of eye injury and subsequent vision problems. 


Smoking is linked to various eye conditions, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can cause vision impairment. 


Certain systemic conditions like diabetes or hypertension can affect the blood vessels in the eyes and result in vision issues. 


Exposure to harmful pollutants, toxins, or excessive UV radiation without adequate protection can harm the eyes and contribute to visual deterioration. 


Ignoring regular eye check-ups and neglecting proper eye hygiene, such as not removing contact lenses properly or not practicing good eye hygiene, can lead to eye problems over time.


Common causes of poor vision can be traced back to past medical issues as well as ingrained habits and lifestyle choices. A specific family medical history may also be able to assist you in anticipating when vision issues may arise. Refractive errors, which include myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, have surpassed age-related vision issues to become the most prevalent eye conditions in the US today. That being said, what are the reasons for these visual issues?


Some signs of eye and vision problems may include: 

  • Blurred or double vision. 
  • Difficulty focusing or maintaining clear vision.
  • Eye strain or discomfort, especially after prolonged reading or screen time. 
  • Frequent headaches. 
  • Squinting or tilting the head to see clearly. 
  • Sensitivity to light or glare. 
  • Red, watery, or irritated eyes. 
  • Dry eyes. 
  • Difficulty seeing objects or text up close or far away. 
  • Changes in color vision. 
  • Seeing halos or experiencing distorted or dimmed vision. 
  • Eye fatigue or tiredness. 
  • Problems with peripheral vision or depth perception. 
  • Trouble seeing at night. 
  • Changes in the appearance of the eyes, such as crossed eyes or abnormal eye movements. 

If you experience any persistent or concerning changes in your vision, it is important to consult with an eye care professional for proper evaluation and guidance.


There are several vision skills that are important for school success. These skills include: 

1. Visual acuity

The ability to see clearly and sharply, both up close and at a distance. Good visual acuity is essential for reading, writing, and seeing the board or screen clearly. 

2. Visual tracking

The ability to smoothly and accurately follow a moving object with the eyes. This skill is crucial for activities like reading, where the eyes must track along a line of text. 

3. Eye teaming

The ability of the eyes to work together as a team allows for proper depth perception and comfortable binocular vision. Eye teaming is important for activities such as reading and playing sports. 

4. Eye-hand coordination 

The ability to coordinate visual information with hand movements. This skill is vital for tasks like handwriting, using a computer, or playing musical instruments. 

5. Visual perception

The ability to interpret and make sense of visual information. It involves skills like visual discrimination (differentiating between similar letters or shapes), visual memory (remembering what is seen), and visual-spatial skills (understanding the relative position of objects). 

6. Visual concentration

The ability to sustain focus on visual tasks for an appropriate amount of time. Good visual concentration allows for effective studying and completing assignments. 

7. Visual processing speed

The ability to quickly and accurately process visual information. 

This skill is important for tasks that require rapid visual analysis, such as reading and problem-solving. It is worth noting that some children may have difficulties with certain vision skills, which can have an impact on their learning and academic performance. If you suspect any vision-related issues, it is recommended to have the child’s vision thoroughly evaluated by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.


Establishing positive habits early on is essential. Your kids pick up valuable visual abilities that they can use in the playground, in the school, and in other areas of their lives. Regular eye exams will help you keep an eye on your child’s visual development and ensure that they have a healthy, clear vision for many years to come.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being