What is it?
Pediatric ophthalmology is a department of medical science that diagnoses and treats eye-related conditions specifically in children. Children generally eye conditions between the ages of 18 months to 4 years. These eye problems can be caused due to a variety of reasons such as heredity, or even spending too much time in front of a screen etc. It is necessary to treat vision problems at an early stage as the complications it leads to, can be critical.
Different conditions of the eyes
The various eye disorders that affect children include,
- Pediatric Strabismus: is the most common condition of the eyes found in children. It is also known as squinting eyes as in this condition both the eyes of the child look at different directions. This misdirection of the eyes occurs throughout the day or sometimes at different intervals.Pediatric Strabismus is of three types, namely,
The symptoms include double vision, eyestrain, headache, and lazy eyes. The exact cause for this condition of the eye is not known. Some of the reasons that cause squinting of the eyes in children are,
- Esotropia is the deviation of the eyes inwardly
- Exotropia is the outward misdirection
- Hypotropia causes the eyes to go up or down at the same time
- Hypermetropia or long-sightedness can cause inward misdirection of the eye.
- Eye disorders such as cataract, glaucoma etc. can lead to poor vision and may result in the formation of pediatric strabismus
- Loss of coordination of muscles between the eyelids can be a cause of squinting eyes.
Hence it is essential to get a regular eye check-up for your child in order to rule out any vision problems that may lead to loss of vision. The doctors might recommend the following treatment methods,
- Corrective Eyeglasses are prescribed for those with a refractive error that could cause eye squint. It also provides a clearer vision that can treat lazy eyes and ensure the health of the eyes after surgery.
- Occlusion Therapy is usually recommended for a child if it affected by amblyopia. The child is typically treated before the surgery for squint using occlusion therapy.
- Surgery is performed on those patients when the other methods of treatment fail. It is done by weakening or strengthening the eye muscles to restore the balance and coordination between the eyes.
- Amblyopia: or lazy eye is a condition of the eye caused by squinting or refractive errors such as myopia. In children, it is found to be a common cause of poor vision. The treatment method that doctors usually recommend for this condition is to wear an eye patch on the non-amblyopic eye for a couple of hours each day, this is called occlusion therapy.
- Congenital Cataract: is treated with the help of cataract surgery to restore vision and prevent the complete loss of vision.
- Congenital Glaucoma: is a rare condition that is caused by the under-development of the eye’s drainage system.
- Congenital Lacrimal Drainage Block: also known as NLD blockage, is the watering of the eyes. This condition should be treated to prevent infection and matting of the eyes.
- Retinopathy of prematurity affects the retina, which occurs in childbirth.