Visual development occurs for the first 8-9 years after a child is born. This development includes both eye physical growth of the eye in terms of size and also the functional development where the visual brain centres develop.
Thus any impairment to this development process leads to what is known as a lazy eye or amblyopia. For the past many years, there was no treatment for the lazy eye after 9-10 years of age. Recently, there are treatments available like Orhoptek or Revital vision which improve vision in children above the age of 10 years. While new treatments are available, it does not mean that we allow a lazy eye to develop in a child.
The technical name for eye power is a refractive error. The child needs to wear glasses to see. If the child does not wear glasses vision will be blurry. More importantly, however, there is a possibility of the development of a lazy eye or Amblyopia. There are a few types of eye power. Myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Myopia is the most common and we have seen a very big spurt in the number of children who have developed myopia in the last few years after the onset of Covid.
There are 3 primary risk factors for the development of Myopia
Diagnosis of eye power
Many a time children don't complain that they can't see clearly. They feel that everyone around them sees the same way as them. It is thus important to get comprehensive eye exams for your children even if they don't complain. A comprehensive eye exam includes a dilated eye exam where the retina and optic nerve are also examined. This is achieved by using eye drops. A dilated eye exam also means a more accurate check for the eye power enabling your eye doctors to prescribe corrective lenses.
Another great way to diagnose eye power in children is by conducting school vision screenings. Here a team from Eye Solutions will visit the school and check visual acuity or the child's vision. We also check for eye power and call children to the hospital only if we suspect them to have an eye condition that needs further treatment.
Treatment of Eye Power
Once your child gets an eye examination your eye doctor may prescribe prescription glasses. In children, vision does not improve the second they start wearing glasses. It may take a few months. When you visit your eye care provider after a few months for a routine eye exam you will notice that your child is able to read much more than during the earlier visit.
Pro Tip: Do consider using polycarbonate lenses for your children's glasses. These lenses are very difficult to break and thus are safer.
Covid has led to increasing amounts of time being spent on mobile devices and computer screens. Increased screen time can lead to an increased risk of developing myopia and an increased risk of developing dryness. Here are a few tips children can follow to maintain their eye health
Eye Allergies are also known as allergic conjunctivitis. It's one of the common eye diseases in children.
When one refers to conjunctivitis, most of the time they refer to infective conjunctivitis or a "pink eye".
Lazy eye is also known as Amblyopia. Amblyopia means there is vision loss in one eye compared to the other. There are a few reasons why one may have amblyopia.
While treatments of amblyopia are mentioned above it's important to note that prevention of amblyopia is very important and is possible. Prevention is not very difficult and all one needs is regular eye exams for their children.
Look out for the following
In many situations, it becomes important that a pediatric ophthalmologist sees your children's eye vs a general ophthalmologist. This is where Eye Solutions comes in. We have a full-time Pediatric Ophthalmologist at our Kemps Corner facility.
As mentioned, it's important to get a routine eye examination for your children even if they don't complain of any eye-related issues. You can book an appointment here.