Children don’t fully develop their sense of sight until they’re about eight years old, which gives ophthalmologists a short window for diagnosing and correcting eye problems in early childhood.
Vision and eye issues can become serious if not treated promptly, which is why it’s important to have your child examined regularly by one of the many excellent pediatric eye care specialists in the United States.
Here are five of the most common pediatric eye problems.
Children with strabismus have eyes that point in different directions. One eye is usually straight, while the other points either down, up, or sideways.
The vision of children born with this condition won’t develop properly without swift treatment. A pediatric eye care optometrist can treat strabismus with a combination of glasses, eye exercises, covering the “good” eye, or surgical correction.
Strabismus, a significant difference of vision between the two eyes, or a congenital cataract can cause amblyopia. One eye becomes lazy because it’s not receiving a clear picture. It can lead to permanently poor vision if left untreated.
Amblyopia treatment includes corrective glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
A blockage of the glands in the upper or lower eyelids can lead to a chalazion, a small swelling or bump on the eyelid, often confused with a sty.
The eyelid becomes swollen and heavy. In some cases, a chalazion occurs because of an infection, which causes pain and redness. Treatment options include warm compresses, steroid injections, and surgery.
Epiphora is excessive watering of the eye due to a blocked tear duct. Causes include a foreign object entering the eye, an injury, an infection, or allergies.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Options include cleaning the eyes with sterile water, warm compresses, or surgery to widen the drainage channels.
Refractive errors in one eye can cause significant vision problems for children if not identified and corrected, as their vision is still developing. Possible complications of one-sided refractive errors include strabismus and amblyopia.
Signs to watch out for
Take your child to see a pediatric eye care optometrist if you notice:
- A persistent watering or discharge
- One eye appears turned out
- Your child is sensitive to light
- They often tilt their head sideways
- They hold books at close range
- They sit very close to the TV
- Their eyes aren’t uniform in appearance
- The pupils have a white or unusual appearance
Eye issues in children can become serious if not treated promptly, so it’s crucial to have your child’s eyes examined regularly by a pediatric eye care optometrist.