5 Common Eye Problems in Children
In this article, you will learn about the 5 common eye problems in children. Vision plays an important role in children’s physical, cognitive, and social development. More than one in five preschool-age children enrolled in Head Start have a vision disorder. Uncorrected vision problems can impair child development, interfere with learning, and even lead to permanent vision loss; early detection and treatment are critical. Visual functioning is a strong predictor of academic performance in school-age children, and vision disorders of childhood may continue to affect health and well-being throughout the adult years. So, you must be on the look out for your child’s eye health.
Here’s 5 Common Eye Problems in Children –
1. Chalazion :
Chalazion is a small swelling of the eyelid when there is a blockage in the glands of the upper or lower eyelid. There can be swelling and redness of the eyelid and sometimes there can be yellowy ooze. Your child can have many chalazia on their eyelid at any one time, and it can happen in one or both eyes. Take your child to your family doctor who will suggest initial treatment. If there is no improvement after 3 to 4 months of treatment, you will need to see an ophthalmologist (eye specialist). If the chalazia is so large it is covering the centre of your child’s pupil (the black central part of the eye) it may affect your child’s vision. Your family doctor will need to refer you to see an ophthalmologist.
2. Amblyopia :
Amblyopia is reduced vision in an eye that has not received adequate use during early childhood. Amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye,” has many causes. Most often it results from either a misalignment of a child’s eyes, such as crossed eyes, or a difference in image quality between the two eyes (one eye focusing better than the other.) In both cases, one eye becomes stronger, suppressing the image of the other eye. If this condition persists, the weaker eye may become useless.
3. Strabismus :
This condition is commonly known as ‘crossed eyes’. In this condition, one or both the eyes are misaligned by turning in, out, up, or down. The eyes are unable to aim at the same object consistently. If this condition is left untreated and a child’s visual function reaches full maturity, then it will be impossible to treat it. This condition is genetic but can also be caused due to trauma to the muscles that control the movement of the eyes or the nerves. Strabismus does not recover on its own. Eye patching is used to force the brain to work the misaligned eye harder. In severe cases, surgery is suggested.
4. Conjunctivitis (pink eye) :
Conjunctivitis can refer to either a viral or bacterial infection (both very contagious), or an allergic reaction (not contagious). The eye appears red or pink due to inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, filmy membrane that covers the inside of eyelids and white part of eye. The eye tears, has discharge or both, and is usually itchy and uncomfortable. When a viral infection is the cause, the child may also have a fever, sore throat and runny nose. If the child has (or may have) contagious pink eye, he or she needs to stay home from school or return home to avoid infecting others. Contagious pink eye usually resolves in three to seven days. When the tearing and discharge from the eyes has stopped the child may return to school.
5. Retinitis Pigmentosa :
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name for a group of eye diseases. RP causes the thin layer of tissue in the back of the eye, which is called the retina, to deteriorate. RP diseases are genetic and are passed down from one or both parents. RP damages the cells in the retina that sense light. These cells are known as rods and cones. The rods are associated with side vision and night vision. Clear central vision and color vision are associated with the cones. RP mutates the genes of the rod cells and they slowly stop working. As the rod cells stop working, peripheral vision is slowly lost until you can only see a small tunnel of vision straight ahead. RP can cause serious vision loss.
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