Eye problems in children, to be never ignored by parents
CHILDHOOD is the most crucial period for developing healthy vision. Symptoms can sometimes be serious or subtle and must be treated at the earliest.
Regular screenings can help protect your child’s vision during growth period. Follow “RSVP” rule “which stands for: Redness, sensitivity to light, vision change and pain.”
If your child experiences any one of these symptoms make an appointment with an eye specialist.
Frequent blinking, rubbing and irritation is usually caused by pollens, dust or playing with a domestic pet, the condition is also associated with seasonal allergies, especially during the months of April and October.
It can also cause tearing, burning sensation with puffy eyelids. These children often have nasal allergies or sore throat with flu like symptoms.
Animal pets like dogs, cats, parrots, scalp dandruff, dust, pollen, smoke, perfumes and even certain foods can cause such allergic reaction in the eyes.
If discomfort is accompanied by redness and a sticky discharge, it can be a sign of infective condition by a virus or bacteria. Your doctor can always help diagnose and provide treatment.
It can easily be controlled with anti-allergic eye drops. Repeated blinking of eyes indicates child’s stress, anxiety or weak eyesight. The child may need corrective glasses.
A red spot in the eye is usually due to a haemorrhage from a tiny blood vessel by a minor injury with a pencil or during playing which may look scary, but it is normally harmless and resolves on its own.
If the spot enlarges, visit an eye specialist right away. A grey spot indicate is an innocent condition, a sign of iron deficiency anaemia.
A brown or black spot is usually a nevus due to deposition of melanin pigment of the skin. It does not indicate any problem, but it should be monitored over the time if enlarges in size.
Dilated or large pupils in one or both eyes, sometime noticeable in fair skin children, these get constricted if exposed to bright or artificial light.
Certain medications also affect pupil size. If you’re concerned better see an Eye specialist for evaluation.
Seeing grey or black specks, shadows or floaters in the visual field, which look like strings or cobwebs of different shapes in otherwise healthy eyes, especially in myopic children.
These are normally caused by the denaturing of vitreous gel fibres present on the back of the eye.
Such floaters are more common in older adults, but can also occur in children as a result of severe eye injury; such floaters are usually harmless. Multiple new floaters accompanied by flashing lights or a curtain like opacity may signal inflammation inside the eye.
If this happens, bring your child to the eye specialist right away. When children go into deep sleep, it’s fairly common for their eyes to remain open a little bit. This is generally safe and not a cause for concern.
If children frequently sleep with eyes open in an air conditioned room or with a blowing fan, eyes may become dry, red and irritated upon waking.
Your doctor can suggest an eye ointment or drops that will help keep eyes sufficiently moist and prevent damage to the cornea.
Discharge from the eye can cause mugged eye lids or lashes and lead to “crusty eyes.” It can be caused normally by secretions or rarely due to inflammation. A blocked tear duct can also be associated with crusty eyes.
This occurs when the drainage system for tears is obstructed and tears cannot be drained normally. This can lead to a watery or a chronically infected eye. A pediatric eye specialist can evaluate and treat such eyes.
Mis-aligned eyes can turn inward, outward, upward or downward,(crossed eyes) that is a sign of squint (strabismus), a visual problem that occurs in 2- 5% of the children. Squinting eyes are the indication of poor vision in one or both eyes.
It may be by birth or a developmental condition with age as both eyes must aim at the same spot together (bi-nocularly) to see clearly.
If left untreated, a squinting eye can lead to Amblyopia, a condition where the mis-aligned eyes my get damaged permanently with poor vision. —To be continued.
—The writer is a senior Eye Specialist from Maroof International Hospital, Islamabad.