Eye problems in children, to be never ignored by parents
A pediatric Eye Specialist can diagnose squinting of eyes and provide treatment by corrective glasses, exercises and even surgery sooner or later. It will save the vision and the child becomes normal with 6/6 or 20/20 acuity.
A number of some developmental conditions can cause a child to tilt their head or cover one eye.
Nerve paralyses of the eye muscles can cause a head tilt, child adjusts the angle by covering one eye for visual clarity.
A head tilt signals a refractive error and the child turns his face to other side to see clearer. Children with nearsightedness (Myopia) may look at objects with their chin up to a better focus.
Kids who are farsighted tend to focus with their chin down. Bring the child to an eye specialist for further evaluation.
On first admission to the school it is absolutely necessary for the children to get their eyes examined, as healthy vision is most important for reading, writing, computer and board work, mostly being over-looked by the parents.
Moreover, the visual acuity changes year after year, if remains untreated for some time, the child may feel tired and have difficulty in concentration. He may develop squint or hold reading material very close to the face.
Your child might lose interest in study, games, or other activities. They may have difficulty to keep track of where they are on the page. This may be a sign of a poor eye-sight.
Progress in school is closely tied to visual health, hence child needs regular eye screening. Earlier the treatment your child is better in the school.
If your child is still having difficulty after their vision problems are redressed, they might have a learning disability but the vision problems do not cause learning disabilities.
Learning disabilities are problems of the children when doing certain tasks. Learning disabilities are not necessarily caused by eye problems. Instead, how the brain processes what it sees or hears.
However, there are certain risk factors with learning disability ie, having family members with inherited learning disabilities such as being born prematurely, experiencing physical stress before or after being born with past history of meningitis, polio or a head injury; 15 % of the children face such problems until they start going to the school. Personality and behavior changes may result in children with learning disabilities.
For example, they lose interest in school, become frustrated easily, or anxious and depressed. In many countries it is the law that schools must test children for learning disabilities.
It is not necessarily due to eye problems, but these children should have a full eye exam by an ophthalmologist. A vision problem can affect reading, writing and may be mistaken for a learning disability.
However, there is no scientific evidence showing that learning disabilities are cured by special diets, vitamins, sugar restriction, eye exercises, spectacles or any visual therapy.
Time and patience (for both children and parents) are important for success, as teachers can certainly help children with learning disabilities.
Use of Computers in Children. A highly versatile researcher of Children Eye Diseases (Dr. Madiha et al., from Calgary Canada) and WHO has advised that the children under the age of 1 year should not be exposed to computers and smart phones.
Today, the parents expose their children to computers, TV and interesting films to divert their attention for taking meals.
No doubt, playing video games can improve child’s memory, benefit both cognitive and emotional skills. But too much screen time can hamper the growing child’s development.
Parents should encourage the children to read books, undertake sports activities and reduce involvement in social media which is addictive in causing anxiety, depression and visual problems.
Limiting screen time to one hour for educational programs in children aging 2-5 years, have strongly been advised by the researchers.—Concluded.
—The writer is a senior Eye Specialist from Maroof International Hospital, Islamabad.