by Samhita Vitta on  August 7, 2020 at 12:41 PM Health In Focus
  • Routine eye checkups crucial for children after birth as pediatric eye specialists can detect abnormalities
  • Amblyopia common concern in children requires early detection
  • Conjunctivitis is another common problem which when accompanied with pain requires immediate attention

Parents need to be educated about the common eye problems that affect a child and focus on their child's eye health. With knowledge and action, they can help their child have a healthy vision- in the classroom and beyond.

Possible concerns
Vision component should be included in every well-child visit after birth, according to Dr. Amanda Ely, an ophthalmologist.
Eye Conditions Common in Children

The kid should be referred to a pediatric eye specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The pediatrician generally looks for a symmetric red reflex. If it is asymmetric, white or dull, the child may require glasses or further screening for conditions such as strabismus, cataracts or even a disease of the retina.

Strabismus is a condition when the eyes don't align properly with respect to each other when the person is looking at an object.

A cataract is a cloudy, dense area in the lens of the eye. It begins when proteins in the eye clump together and prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina.

Many infants and young children are farsighted. They cannot clearly see close objects.

Farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism may affect a child's eye health. If the vision is blurry or leading to strabismus, corrective glasses are often required.

Another common problem is amblyopia. Amblyopia is when a child has better visual potential in one eye compared to the other. The brain may favor a stronger eye for vision and ignore the other eye.

To correct amblyopia and prevent permanent vision loss in the weaker eye, parents with a known history of amblyopia should take their child to a pediatric eye specialist.

A specialist can observe subtle changes in the eye disorder that may take much longer for parents to notice.

Virtual Classroom May Lead to Vision Problems

Children mostly outgrow their farsightedness when they reach elementary school. However, they may start to develop nearsightedness.

Nearsightedness is caused when you cannot see objects at a distance clearly.

COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shift towards online learning and virtual classrooms, which may increase the risk of vision problems.

Kids on average spend around seven hours a day staring at devices. Staring at a screen makes the kid blink less, leading to blurry vision and eye strain.

Blue light-blocking glasses are neither endorsed for kids during screen-time by the American Academy of Ophthalmology nor the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr Ajay Soni, an ophthalmologist, recommends the 20-20-20 rule. One must exercise their eyes by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes of screen time.

Online classes differ from physical classrooms. Focusing on a computer screen would require eyes to accommodate. Whereas, looking at something across a room keeps the eyes more relaxed. Staring at a computer screen continuously can result in fatigue and headaches.

When is the Right Time to Call the Doctor?

Recurrent headaches during the afternoon could be a sign that the child needs the 20 minutes break. The child may also be focusing too much as they are unable to see clearly and would require glasses.

A child who squints frequently should also be tested as they may have a problem seeing objects at a distance.

Frequent blinking and winking with just one eye could be a sign of double vision caused by strabismus. A pediatric eye specialist should evaluate these children.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition in children attending in-person school.

Symptoms are:

  • Tearing
  • Pink eye
  • Slightly swollen eyes
It is a viral infection that can go away without treatment.

Pink eye is not usually painful. If the child constantly keeps the eyes closed, it could indicate pain.

Pain is a possible symptom for corneal infection, uveitis or inflammation inside the eye. It's generally an autoimmune condition but could also be as a result of an infection.

It is better always to consult a doctor when the pink eye is accompanied by pain.

Pink eye is generally spread due to contact. If a child rubs their eyes and touches and object, when someone else touches the same object and then their eyes, they'll get pink eye. Hygiene of the hand is essential during the pink eye season.

In summary, it is crucial to constantly monitor your child's vision health and consult a doctor when the child expresses any symptoms.

Source: Medindia

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