Categories: Paediatrics

Eye Care in Children

Following are the common eye problems in children:

  1. Refractive errors
  • The commonest cause of preventable blindness in children
  • A most important cause for poor performance in schools and learning disability
  • Can be easily and successfully treated if diagnosed early in life
  1. Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
  • This occurs when one or both eyes send a blurred image to the brain
  • Causes: uncorrected refractive errors, squint, and cataract in children
  • Treatment involves
  • Spectacles
  • Patching
  • Exercises on synaptophore
  • Software-based exercises
  1. Squint in Children
  • It is a misalignment of the eyes
  • One eye is the fixating eye and the other may be deviated up, down, in or out
  • A baby with a constantly fixed squint, or with an intermittent squint that is worsening from 2 months, should have an assessment by a Paediatric Ophthalmologist
  • Treatment involves spectacles, exercises, and surgery in some cases
  1. Cataract in Children
  • Though cataract affect elderly people, it can sometimes affect kids too
  • You would notice a white reflex in a child’s eye
  • Refractive correction and Lazy eye (Amblyopia) therapy are very important after cataract surgery
  • Needs a very committed long term follow-up
  • Often children have other systemic problems too and need a Paediatrician’s care
  1. Congenital Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction
  • Blocked tear ducts are common in infants; as many as one third may be born with this condition
  • Children present with excess tearing, purulent discharge and infection
  • Fortunately, more than 90% of all cases clear up by the time children are 1 year old with proper NLD massage
  • If left untreated, then the tear duct may have to be opened surgically either by probing or a lacrimal sac surgery
  1. Binocular Vision Problems
  • Many school-going children and people working in IT companies have problems of eye fatigue, double vision, and problems in focusing
  • This is due to excessive use of the visual display terminals
  • Usually, this is also associated with dry eyes
  • Treatment includes exercises for eye muscle and management of dry eyes

Common symptoms in children with eye problems:

  • Keeping the books too close to the eye
  • Going close to the TV
  • Difficulty in reading from blackboard
  • Making lots of spelling mistakes while copying the notes
  • Squeezing the eyes or excessive blinking to see clearly
  • Eye strain while reading
  • Intolerance to sunlight
  • Constant irritation or watering of the eyes
  • Constantly rubbing the eyes
  • Recurrent styes and eye infections
  • Frequent headaches
  • Difficulty in night vision

Common signs which indicate about an eye problem:

  • Noticing a white reflex in the eye
  • Asymmetry in the size of both the eyes
  • Deviation of the eyes
  • Frequent redness and watering
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Yellowish discolouration of the eyes

What to do if a child suffers an eye injury?

  • Blunt trauma like getting hit by a ball or fist
  • Penetrating injury with a sharp object like pen, pencil, and scissors
  • Chemical injury: if any household cleaner, a chemical in the lab or lime enters the eye
  • Any foreign body entering the eyes

What to do?

  • Do not rub the eyes
  • Do not try to take out any foreign body
  • In case of chemical injury, wash the eye thoroughly with water
  • Cover the eye with a protective eye shield
  • Consult the eye specialist immediately

Some Do’s and Don’ts for eye care:

Do’s Don’ts
Eat all coloured and green leafy vegetables Do not rub your eyes
Maintain proper posture while reading Do not share your handkerchiefs and towels
Good illumination while reading Do not indulge in fights with your friends and stay away from sharp objects
Restrict your screen time Do not watch too much of TV or play games on the Ipads/mobiles
Get adequate sleep of 8 hours Do not look at the sun directly
Get regular eye check-ups done

Dr. Hemalatha Vidyashankar, Consultant – Paediatrics & Ophthalmology, SRCC Children’s Hospital, Mumbai

Narayana Health

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