Children are susceptible to acquiring vision problems and eye diseases just as much as adults are. This is why it’s critical to start having their vision screened at a young age to help maintain eye health. Should a problem occur, early diagnosis and treatment are vital for future sight preservation. Below are some of the most common pediatric eye diseases and an explanation of the signs parents should look for in order to recognize these problems right away.
Amblyopia is more widely referred to as a lazy eye and is caused when the eye and brain isn’t working in conjunction with one another. It generally results because of other issues, such as a need for glasses, misalignment of the eyes, or a disruption of light passing through the eye. If each eye is not able to identically focus on an image, amblyopia is likely to develop.
- What to Look For: It’s important to look for one eye that turns in, out, up, or down either regularly, intermittently, or occasionally. Squinting eyes, bumping into objects, double vision, and head tilting are also indications of amblyopia.
Conjunctivitis is commonly known as pink eye and indicates and inflammation of the tissue lining inside the eyelid. Bacteria, allergens, viruses, or other irritants can all lead to conjunctivitis.
- What to Look For: Symptoms of conjunctivitis often include redness, itchiness, light sensitivity, discharge, tearing, and crust in the corner of the eyes or in the eyelashes.
Blocked Tear Duct
Blocked tear ducts occur in one out of every 10 births. It happens when an eye’s drainage system for tears is completely or partially blocked and tears can’t drain normally.
- What to Look For: A blocked tear duct may be suspected if consistently watery or irritated eyes and chronic infections are noticed.
Strabismus, also known as crossed eyes, causes the eyes to become misaligned, with one turning in, out, up, or down so that they can’t both focus on one thing at the same time.
- What to Look For: Blurred vision, loss of depth perception, split vision, headaches, and eye strain can accompany a strabismus condition.
Nystagmus causes the eyes to make repetitive movements that cannot be controlled. The eyes may move from side to side, up and down, or in a circular pattern, making it impossible to focus and obtain a clear image.
- What to Look For: Moving the head into different positions to try and see better, fast eye movements, head nodding, abnormal blinking, and headaches are hints that nystagmus may be present.
Knowing what these eye diseases are and the clues of their existence will allow parents to assist optometrists in the efforts to keep their children’s eye in good condition. As the leading pediatric optometrist in San Diego, Dr. Rosa Optometry is dedicated to the eye health of children through regular exams and special treatments.
photo By Sage Ross – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8978907