Good vision is essential for proper physical development and educational progress in growing children. The development of the visual system is extremely age sensitive and hence early detection and treatment of visual problems is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. The gift of vision is precious. Give your children the best start in life by visiting your eye doctor today. Because it's never to early to help your child have a bright future.

Recommendations for Eye Examination in children :

  • A paediatrician should examine a new born's eyes. An ophthalmologist should be asked to examine all premature infants.
  • Vision screening should be done between 3 and 3 ½ yrs of age. Routine screening school checks should be done.
  • Detailed eye examination must be done if there is appearance of symptoms of visual impairment.
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Common eye problem in children :


Refractive errors

Parents have a major role to play in noticing any eye problem and getting the right help for their child or any other family member on time. Children are unable to explain their visibility issues, so eye examination in children is always recommended by doctors at an early age such as three. If parents suspect something wrong with their child’s eye, then it should be done even earlier.

A Person With Any Of The Following Need To Have A Complete Eye Examination

  • Poor performance at school or at work
  • Viewing objects at a very close distance
  • Squint
  • Eyes shaking
  • The family history of eye problems or wearing glasses in children.

Effect of dilating eye drops can last from 4 to 48 hours, depending upon the strength of the drop and upon the individual patient. Refractive errors can be corrected by glasses, but it needs detailed eye examination by putting dilating drops which makes the pupil large and relaxes the focusing muscles of the eye. Large pupil helps to examine the interior of the eye easily. It relaxes the focusing muscles of the eye and allows for a more accurate determination of refractive error.

Hyperopia

Another problem is Hyperopia (far-sightedness), where problems such as crossing of the eyes, blurred vision, or discomfort may develop. However, most children are far-sighted early in life and it becomes a concern only in excessive cases where the focusing muscles are not able to keep the vision clear. A prescription for hyperopia will be preceded by a plus sign (+3.00).

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is also common and is caused by a difference in the surface curve of the eye. Instead of being shaped like a perfect sphere (like a basketball), the eye is shaped with a greater curve in one axis (like a rugby ball) and this causes fine details to look blurred or distorted. Here, the prescribed glasses have greater strength in one direction of the lens than in the opposite direction.

Anisometropia

Anisometropia causes children to have a different prescription in each eye. This can create a condition called lazy eye, where the vision in one eye does not develop normally. Glasses(and sometimes patching) are needed to ensure that each eye can see clearly.

Lazy eye or Amblyopia

Lazy eye or Amblyopia is seen in 1% of children. It is a failure of the eye to connect to the brain due to lack of use of one eye during infancy and childhood. Therefore, the vision in the amblyopic eye remains poorer than in the normal eye. To solve this, the poorer seeing eye forced to be used by patching the preferred eye and combined with the use of corrected by 9 years of age by which time it becomes permanent. To detect and treat ambylopia, it is necessary to examine preschool age children.

Squint or Strabismus

Squint or Strabismus, also called crossed-eyes, means that the eyes are not aligned but are pointing in different directions. They may either point inwards towards the nose (esotropia), outwards to the ear (exotropia) or up or down (vertical strabismus). The problem can be constant or intermittent. However intermittent strabismus occurs in infants during the first few months of life, especially when the infants is tired, since they are still learning to focus their eyes and to move them in a coordinated fashion. Most babies outgrow this intermittent strabismus by the age of 3 months. For other cases, various treatment options are available, including exercise for the eyes, called orthoptics.

Causes for Squint

  • Birth injuries
  • Hereditary
  • Faulty muscle balance
  • Need for glasses
  • Certain eye diseases interfering vision of one eye
  • Development of normal vision in both eyes
  • Straighten the eyes
  • To make both eyes work together

Squint

Squint (also known as strabismus) is a condition that arises because of an incorrect balance of the muscles that move the eye or faulty nerve signals to the eye muscles and focusing faults. If these are out of balance, the eye may converge (turn towards the inside), diverge (turn towards the outside) or sometimes turn up or down, preventing the eyes from working functioning together.

Squint can occur to anyone at any point in time irrespective of age or gender. In most cases, a baby can be born with a squint or develop one soon after birth. Around five to eight percent of children are affected by a squint or a squint-related condition, which means one or two in every group of 30 children. Squint eye may be present since birth or result from injury. The treatment involves surgical procedures but most of them are treated conservatively. There are several causes of double vision and squint in adults as well. These are managed by exercise, special glasses, and eye muscle surgery when required. Strabismus Or Squint Can Also Begin In Adulthood Due To Medical Problems, Such As:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • A brain tumour
  • Head trauma
  • Strokes

False Squint

This is the condition where eye looks deviated because of structural factors as broad nose. But the examination by an eye doctor will diagnose this case. It normally gets corrected with age and needs no treatment.

Latent Squint

In this condition eye remains straight in normal gaze but gets squinted on strain and tiredness. Squint is seen on covering one eye - the covered eye becomes squinted. Actually the imbalance in this case is not so much to cause obvious squint. Eye muscles tries to maintain binocular vision. This causes strain and headache. Mostly it is due to refractive error and correction may give relief from headache.

Treatment

Early check up by an eye doctor is must to diagnose and treat the case. It is time taking and needs lot of effort from parents to attain the goals

To Develop Vision

  • Glasses/ Spectacles: some type of squint are corrected by glasses only.
  • Patching of the lazy eye: By this we stimulate bad eye to see more and improve vision. This is done under doctors supervision, who checks for development of vision in bad eye and deterioration of vision in good eye which may happen occasionally. In these cases he may have to reverse the patching.
  • Straighten the eyes - Surgery is done to straighten the eye. In this the weaker muscle is made stronger by cutting a piece and joining two ends (resection) and stronger muscle is made weak by cutting it from its attachment and taking the attachment back (recession) . Surgery may have to be done in one eye or both eyes depending on amount and type of squint.
  • To develop Binocular vision - Chances of developing binocular vision is normally very less. However some exercises after and before surgery may be recommended to develop binocular vision. This is done by person trained for it, known as Orthoptist.

Some of the uncommon eye problems in children include

  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Ptosis
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Nystagmus
  • Visual inattention
  • Pediatric cataracts
  • Pediatric glaucoma
  • Abnormal vision development
  • Orbital tumours
  • Evaluation of visual issues in education, including dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, which are treated through different methods
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