Healthy Eyes For Children By Dr Parul Sharma

What are the indicators or signs of vision problems in infants or toddlers?
A child may have vision problems if he or she:
·         Constantly rubs the eye(s)
·         Feels extremely sensitive to light
·         Cannot focus on objects, whether near or far
·         Has chronic redness in the eyes
·         Has poor visual tracking, i.e., finds it difficult to follow a moving object
·         Has abnormal eye movement or alignment (usually 6 months post birth)
·         Has a white pupil

What are the common signs to watch for when it comes to vision problems in school-going children?
Vision problems in a school-going kid can be gauged if a child:
·         Finds it difficult to see objects that are located at a distance
·         Is unable to clearly read whatever that is written on the blackboard
·         Cannot read from a book
·         Faces problems with writing
·         Sits closer to the television screen or computer’s monitor
·         Squints or has crossed eyes
·         Rubs the eye more than the usual
·         Has watery eyes
·         Suffers frequent headaches
·         Has poor concentration
·         Is under performing or underachieving at school

Which medical tests are recommended to keep the vision of children in check?
·     For new-born: A general eye check-up can be done in the hospital’s nursery by an experienced paediatrician.
·   For high-risk infants: Premature infants or new-born with obvious eye irregularities must be thoroughly examined by a skilled ophthalmologist.
·      For kids aged around three: Visual acuity tests and detailed health screenings are recommended for children around three years of age.
·   For children around five years of age: A thorough examination related to vision and eye alignment should be done by experience doctors.
·        For kids who wear glasses:Kids who have been prescribed spectacles or contacts should be taken for annual check-ups for assessment related to changes in vision.

What are the common eye problems that affect children?
There are a number of eye conditions that may affect young kids. Regular vision screenings with the help of an acuity chart is, therefore, necessary for children right from their pre-school years.

Refractive errors: It refers to a condition when the eye’s shape affects the focus of light on the retina. The images, thus, get blurred and lead to eyestrain or headaches. Children with refractive errors are advised to wear spectacles or contacts.
·         Nearsightedness (Myopia) is a common refractive error that indicates poor distance vision.
·         Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a refractive error that indicates poor near vision.
·         Astigmatism is a condition that leads to eye discomfort or blurred vision at all distances.  

Amblyopia: Also referred to as lazy eye, it is a sight disorder that usually reduces the vision of one eye. The blurry vision results from lack of coordination between the nerve pathways that connect the brain and the eye. It may develop because of squint, i.e., when the eyes are not straight. Also, refractive error in each eye can lead to Amblyopia. If not treated on time, it can lead to irreversible visual loss.

Retinoblastoma: It refers to malignant tumour that occurs during childhood or early years of life. It causes whiteness in the pupil of the affected eye and may also result in visual loss.

Strabismus: This condition refers to misalignment of the eyes.Chronic misalignment may also lead to amblyopia. Early detection is crucial in restoring the vision and correcting the misaligned eye by patching the properly aligned one.
Congenital glaucoma: It is an inherited eye disorder. This rare condition usually affects babies and young kids. It causes enlargement of eyes and may also lead to clouding of cornea.

Infantile cataract: Diagnosed at birth, it leads to cloudiness or opacity of the eye’s natural lens. Whiteness in the pupil is the most common sign of the disorder.

Easy eye care tips for children
·      If your child is unable to read letters, it is advisable to take him or her to an eye specialist for proper examination at the earliest says Dr Parul Sharma of Max Eyecare.
·         A child must have at least one eye examination before crossing the age of three. Chances are high for your child to develop problems related to vision if poor eyesight and the use of glasses have been running in the family.
·         Ensure optimum lighting to get the strain off your child’s delicate eyes, especially when he or she is reading or writing.
·      Avoid exposing your child’s eyes to sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV). It can lead to ocular melanoma (eye cancer), macular degeneration, or cataracts. Use sunglasses to protect your little one’s sight in the sun.
·        Add green leafy vegetables in your kids’ diet. Encourage children to eat foods that contain lutein and zeaxanthin. It may help in preventing a number of eye ailments, such as certain cataracts or age-related macular degeneration.
·         Make sure your child takes frequent breaks while reading a book or working on a computer since it might cause redness, soreness and tiredness in the eyes.
·       Ensure that your child wears protective goggles while playing sports or swimming to avoid the risks of dangerous eye injuries. For more relevent information please visit :

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