At what age should I take my child for a review with the ophthalmologist?
One of the most intricate mental processes is vision. More than 50% of the brain participates in it, and a large part of the brain’s learning functions, and even memory in children depend on healthy visual activity.
At birth, the human eye has all the necessary structures to achieve vision, however, it is not until the first years of life that it reaches its development.
In the past, it was common for a child to undergo an initial ophthalmological check-up until they reached school, generally when determining difficulty in focusing on the blackboard. This practice, however, has proven to be wrong, since in many cases it is best to diagnose the problem before starting this stage.
Today it is recommended by the specialists of God Service Eye Clinic to carry out a first ophthalmological check-up around 3 to 4 years of age, a consultation in which the specialist will be able to determine if the child patient has adequate visual development, indicating an opportune treatment in the case of detecting the existence of any pathology.
What are the 5 most common eye problems in children?
Among the most common eye diseases in children we can find:
Refractive errors (Hyperopia, myopia or astigmatism)
Hyperopia is the most common refractive error in children, it is defined as a refractive visual defect in which the focus of the image is formed at a greater distance than normal, that is, behind the retina.
Mild (or even moderate) farsightedness usually does not experience visual problems due to this defect. However, in children with moderate to high hyperopia, there is a greater probability of suffering from strabismus (gaze deviation) and amblyopia (lazy eye).
For its part, myopia is an eye problem that manifests itself when the patient perceives distant objects as blurry. The formation of the image in front of the retina causes myopia. In the case of myopia in children, it is important to carry out periodic controls with the specialist to control its progression.
In astigmatism, the outer part of the eye has an irregular shape. This causes blurred vision both far and near in the child. Astigmatism in childhood usually does not progress in the same way as other refractive errors, it generally decreases in the first years of life.
Epiphora (Increased tearing)
Lacrimal obstruction is the most frequent cause of consultation with the ophthalmologist in children under one year of age, it affects 6% of full-term newborns and 20% of premature babies. It is mainly due to defects in the tear outlet channel in the eye.
Various conditions can lead to children having red eyes. This is usually due to inflammation of the superficial parts of the eye: Cornea (keratitis), conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) and eyelids (blepharitis). Due to the different causes that can cause this symptom, it is best to go to a specialist as soon as possible who is capable of indicating the most precise treatment for eye redness in the child.
Strabismus is a deviation in the alignment of the visual axes, generally, the deviated eye does not make a correct fixation on the objects, which in the long run means that it does not develop all its visual power if this defect is not corrected and early age, the decrease in visual acuity in the deviating eye will be irreversible, thus creating a lazy eye.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye):
Amblyopia or lazy eye is defined as a generally unilateral condition, of variable severity, in which the best visual acuity achieved is less than 20/20 with at least two lines of difference between both eyes, without apparent damage to any detectable structure of the eye.
It is estimated that between 2 and 5% of the world’s population suffers from lazy eyes. It is an eye problem in children that requires early diagnosis in order to be successfully treated.
Can lazy eye in children be prevented?
This treatment consists of 2 fundamental pillars, using corrective glasses and the use of occlusion patches in the dominant eye, making the lazy eye work by reinforcing the neural connections of this eye with our brain. An opportune diagnosis of this pathology is important since it can only be treated in the first years of childhood.
In cases of lazy eye caused by strabismus, it is essential that the correction of strabismus be evaluated by a specialist doctor. Depending on the case, there are various treatments to correct this condition: Strengthening exercises for the eye muscles that are causing the anomaly, use of special glasses with corrective prisms, injection of botulinum toxin into the eye muscles and even corrective surgery for strabismus.