Children may experience various of eye problems that often require unique treatment, as a child’s eye and general vision are still developing. Since most of the learning by a child is through the eyes only, early diagnosis and treatment of children’s vision problems is of utmost importance. The members of the Pediatric Ophthalmology unit in our insttute are trained in diagnosing and treating children of all ages, from newborn babies to teenagers.
To mention a few most common problems in children:-
The most common type of refractive errors includes: Short-sightedness (myopia) – poor distance vision, Long-sightedness (hyperopia) – poor near vision and Astigmatism.
The following signs can indicate the presence of refractive error in a child- Sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close, Squinting or tilting the head to see better, Frequent eye rubbing, Closing one eye to read or watch TV in order to see better, complain of headaches or tired eyes. Treatment involves glasses or contact lenses and orthoptic exercises if required.
Children should have an eye exam by the age of 6 months, then again by age 3 years, and just before starting school. School age children need an eye exam every year. Frequent eye exams are important during the school years because in children glasse prescription can change frequently.
Also known as a squint, strabismus is the condition in which the eyes are not aligned in the same direction or do not move in unison. The loss of coordination between the muscles of the two eyes leads to misalignment of the eyes. In children, it is very important to get it treated as soon as possible because squint can affect the development of vision permanently as their brain is still developing.
Treatment of Strabismus:
Before taking anyone to surgery, we have a look at all the non-surgical causes of strabismus i.e check for refractive error and treat any amblyopia . the surgery consists of shortening or relaxing the extraocular muscles that attach to the globe to straighten the eye.
Amblyopia is the term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. This condition is sometimes called “lazy eye.”
Treatment involves having the child use the eye with reduced vision (the weaker eye), so that vision can become stronger in the weaker eye and the part of the brain that manages vision can develop more completely. The treamtnt consists of correcting any refractive errors, clearing the visual axix of any opacities or treating other cause. Mainstay of amblyopia therapy is Patching – For this treatment, an opaque, adhesive patch is worn over the stronger eye for specified amounts of time each day in order to force the child to use the eye with amblyopia till the vision in the weaker eye improves.
RETINOPATHY OF PREMATURITY (ROP)
The retina contains many blood vessels, which usually finish developing before babies are born at full term. In babies born prematurely, these blood vessels have not yet finished developing. These immature blood vessels often begin growing abnormally, rather than maturing normally. When this occurs, the abnormal growth of blood vessels is a disease called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).
In 90% of babies who develop ROP, the disease is mild or moderate. In these cases, the ROP gradually disappears within several months, without needing any treatment other than careful monitoring by an ophthalmologist.
In the remaining 10% of babies who develop ROP, the disease is severe and may cause problems such as retinal detachment which can result in blindness. These cases of severe ROP may be treated with laser and other surgical procedures, which can significantly decrease the risk of visual loss.. Screening at-risk preterm infants at proper times and intervals, is highly recommended ]
It is one of the major causes of preventable childhood blindness, affecting approximately 200,000 children worldwide, with an estimated prevalence ranging from three to six per 10,000 live births. Pediatric cataracts may be congenital if present within the first year of life, developmental if present after infancy, or traumatic. Early diagnosis and treatment are of crucial importance to prevent the development of irreversible stimulus-deprivation amblyopia. We use all the recent advances in pediatrics surgical techniques, latest intraocular lens (IOL) composition and designs, to have improved outcomes after pediatric cataract surgery.
It is an unusual eye disease and significant cause of childhood blindness. It is caused by disease related abnormal increase in intraocular pressure. Pediatric glaucoma is treated differently than adult glaucoma. Most patients require surgery and this is typically performed early. The aim of pediatric glaucoma surgery is to reduce intraocular pressure either by increasing the outflow of fluid from the eye or decrease the production of fluid within the eye. The surgical options are goniotomy, trabeculectomy and glaucoma drainage devices.
Some of the eye exam tests performed in children includes:
- Vision assessment-various methods are used to check a child’s visual acuity and are based on the age of the child.
- Determination of refractive error – to determine the need for glasses in children; the test is performed after pupil dilation to determine the exact measurement.
- Motility Examination – this is a measurement of alignment of the eyes for planning treatment of strabismus (misalignment of eyes).
- Biomicroscopy and dilated fundus examinations – these tests are done to investigate the presence of any eye diseases associated with systemic diseases.
If you would like to learn more about eye care for children by our pediatric eye specialists, please call us.
For children’s eyeglasses and contact lenses prescriptions visit our full-service optical shop.