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The world through the eyes of a child...

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“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eye of the child, there are probably seven billion.”


Parents do everything to make sure that kids have the best start in life. They put in all the efforts; move houses even, to ensure best education in good schools. But sometimes even after all the efforts the grades still drop, the child seems to be uninterested in class activity or homework. Mostly in such situations the teachers or the education system gets blamed. But, this might not always be the problem we are dealing with.


Do you know one in four children have an undetected vision problem that affects their ability to learn? This in turn hampers the academic performance. Sight and vision help connect us to our surroundings. Vision is extremely important in the learning process of children. Up to 80% of everything a child learns, understands and remembers is acquired through the visual system.

But as parents does a simple vision test come up in the list of things to do for our babies in their initial few developing years? Unfortunately most of us have our first eye examination in adulthood.


When to have your child’s eye examined?
  • Even if no eye or vision problems are apparent the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) recommends the first comprehensive eye exam for babies as infants of 6 months of age.
  • Children then should have additional eye exam at age 3, and just before they enter first grade – at about 5 years of age.

  • For school aged children, the AOA recommends an eye exam every two years if no vision correction is required. Those who need eyeglasses or contact lenses should be examined annually or as recommended by the ophthalmologist as per the requirement.


Red flag signs- signs that your child may have a vision problem

Children often have no idea that they have a vision problem, so parents need to be vigilant about signs of potential trouble.

  • Crossed eyes or squinting

  • Needs to have books very close while reading

  • Rubs eyes too often even when not sleepy

  • Complaints of recurrent headache

  • Overly sensitive to light

  • Has redness in the eye that doesn’t go away after a few days and is accompanied by pain or sensitivity to light

  • Complaints of double vision

  • Is overly clumsy

  • Has a persistent spot in the eyes in photos taken with a flash (a white spot, instead of the common red eyes)

  • Has a droopy eyelid that never fully opens

  • Bulging eye

  • Has one eye that appears larger than the other

  • Is not able to distinguish colors (red from green, for example)

Other conditions, which warrant a visit to an ophthalmologist, but are not vision threatening are

  •  Blocked tear ducts – excessive tearing /watering of eyes

  •  Pink eye

  •  Any injury to eye


Is a visit to an eye doctor required even when my child does not have refractive error and need of spectacles?

Yes.

There are many eye conditions that warrant an immediate and detailed eye check up in addition to checking for a need of spectacles. Here is a list of some common eye conditions that can affect children-

  •  Refractive errors- needs spectacles
    1. Hyperopia – farsightedness

    2. Myopia – near sightedness

    3. Astigmatism


  •  Amblyopia- lazy eyes

  •  Nystagmus- involuantry oscillation of the eyes

  •  Strabismus- misalignment of the eyes.

  •  Ptosis –drooping of the upper eyelid

  •  Pediatric Glaucoma - A disease resulting in damage to the optic nerve. Elevated eye pressure is the most common risk factor.

  •  Pediatric Cataract – any opacity or clouding of normally clear lens

  •  Blocked tear duct – causing excessive watering from the eye

  •  Retinopathy of prematurity- eye disease that occurs in premature infants.

  •  Blocked tear duct – causing excessive watering from the eye

  •  Retinopathy of prematurity- eye disease that occurs in premature infants.

  •  Retinoblastoma – most common childhood eye cancer.

  •  Developmental abnormalities- like coloboma, microphthalmia, anophthalmia.

My Child passed the school vision screening. Do I still need to see an eye doctor?

Yes. Standard vision screenings at schools miss a large number of vision disorders. A vision screening is a relatively short examination that can indicate the presence of a vision problem or a potential vision problem.  A child should have a thorough vision test by an optometrist and a comprehensive eye examination by a trained ophthalmologist.


Know your health care providers

While vision screening by your child’s pediatrician or screening at school is important, they are NOT a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam by a licensed eye doctor who is called an ophthalmologist. When you visit a hospital/clinic you will come across service providers specializing in various branches of eye care.

  •  Ophthalmologist – are medical doctors who specializes in eye and vision care. They are trained to handle eye problems medically or surgically.

  •  Pediatric ophthalmologist- are ophthalmologist who have additional special training to treat children’s eye problems.

  •  Optometrist – primary healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses.

  •  Orthoptist- is allied health care professional that specializes in disorders of eye movements and diagnostic procedures related to eye and visual system.

  •  Optician - Opticians are technicians trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses, and other devices to correct eyesight. They use prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists, but do not test vision or write prescriptions for visual correction. Opticians are not permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases


Why is regular vision screening so important?

The vision system is not fully formed in babies and young children, and equal input from both eyes is necessary for the brain’s vision centers to develop normally. If a young child’s eyes cannot send clear images to the brain, his or her vision may become limited in ways that cannot be corrected later in life. But if problems are detected early, it is usually possible to treat them effectively.


How can we help?

Our team of dedicated optometrist and ophthalmologists at HORUS specialty eye care is committed to providing advanced vision care for children in a professional yet comfortable environment.


  • Oct 11, 2018