Children’s eye specialists or Pediatric Ophthalmologists in Mumbai form the backbone of a Paediatric Ophthalmology practice. This has become a well-established specialty in India in the past decade. Separate services targeting children are not usually offered by ophthalmologists handling “adult” cases. These kids' eye doctors are also known as Pediatric Ophthalmologists. Squints or strabismus form an important part of pediatric Ophthalmology. They are thus also known as strabismologists or squint specialists. These eye care specialists are eye surgeons and perform squint surgeries.
When it comes to eye tests in children, child eye specialists need to know how much the child can see. For adults, ophthalmologists depend on what someone can read from the eye test charts. In children, it's different because they may not feel like reading at any given time. Thus, we as children eye doctors or parents, dont know if the child cannot see or is just not reading. During the children’s eye test, your child eye specialists use special children’s eye test charts. These children’s eye test charts dont have alphabets. They do have pictures of things like houses, kites, and apples. These eye test charts are used for vision tests in your child. Usually, we try and make the child cover one eye at a time.
If the child is very young then the doctor uses something to cover one eye of the child during the eye examination. It could even be the doctor’s hand. Examining the structure of the eye thus becomes very important in children at the eye clinic. Your children’s eye specialist will also need to check if the child has eye power or more importantly a Lazy eye. This is also known as Amblyopia. Children's eye doctors also look for common eye problems in children. These could be eye allergies, blocked nasolacrimal duct, and squints.
The first eye examination is usually done at birth by your pediatrician most of the time. One of the most important things he/she checks for is what we call the “Red Glow”. This red glow tells us that there is nothing obstructing light from entering the eye. Rare conditions like cataracts and some eye cancers or malformations of the eyes can cause this light obstruction. Identifying these conditions early is very important. We also do a vision test for the child. This is not a traditional vision test. A baby cannot read the adult chart. We look for eye contact. We also see if the child can follow a toy or our face while we are in front of him.
Post this first eye examination, if all is good, then the children's eye specialist does the next eye examination at 1, 3, and 5 years of age at an eye clinic. If your doctor finds some eye problem, they usually start seeing these children once a year. As children get older we see if the child has developed eye power. We also see if the child has any eye strain. In other words, we see if the child is making an extra effort to see clearly. Parents should also bring their children for an eye exam if they complain of eye strain. This is especially true in the post covid world.
A pediatric eye specialist consults at the eye clinic may involve putting in some eye drops. These eye drops dilate the pupil and help your kid’s eye doctor do two things. The first is to examine the back part of the eye and the second is to check the glass power of the eye. This dilation of the pupil causes blurry vision, more so near vision. This may last for upto 24 hours. There is nothing to worry about and this is what we expect with these eye drops.
Your pediatric ophthalmologists use these eye drops only in children. They help with finding accurate eye numbers. Sometimes, this is the only way we will know if the child cannot see or is not reading the chart at that given time. The names of these eye drops are Cyclopentolate and Tropicayl plus eye drops. Because of this, pediatric ophthalmology eye examinations may take more than 45 minutes.
Children Under the age of 2 years should not have any screen time including TV, smartphones, and tablets. Children aged 2 to 4 years old should have screen time limited to less than 1 hour a day. For children aged 5 years and above no more than 2 hours of daily recreational screen time. Parents are also advised by pediatric eye specialists in Mumbai to time their child’s screen time. This could be time spent in front of the TV or using handheld devices. The screen time could be divided into intervals of 20 to 30 minutes per session. It is vital that young children continue to be active and play outdoors. This helps in supporting their gross and fine motor development. Even their cognitive, social, and communication development occurs.
If only awareness about eye diseases was more than what is prevalent. Pediatric eye specialists could then prevent many of the children’s eye diseases. In the case of children with eye problems, the primary decision-maker is the parent. Now, this parent is not the subject of the problem. Additionally, this parent is not aware of the problem. This is because children are unable to express their discomfort every time. It is important to educate parents about wrong perceptions they may have. It is also important to increase awareness of eye disease among children. Our pediatric ophthalmologists in Mumbai give talks to parents about children's eye problems. We also do eye camps in schools to detect eye problems in children.
The best pediatric eye specialist in Mumbai or a children's eye specialist is one part of a world-class pediatric ophthalmology practice. We have Pediatric optometrists, Pediatricians, Pediatric anesthetists, pediatric contact lens specialists, and orthoptists. This entire team is able to manage eye conditions in children to ensure prompt treatment. Pediatric optometrists form the second most important part of a pediatric ophthalmology practice. Since children may not be cooperative all the time, we have to rely on our findings. Thus the accuracy of our examination becomes very important. Optometrists examine the glass power or eye power during your children’s eye test. Pediatric anesthetists are useful when we need to perform surgeries on children. We try and reduce the stress levels that the child may go through when entering the operating room. The speed at which the child goes to sleep is thus important. Pediatric anesthetists are very good with that.
Eye Solutions is a multilocation eye hospital. Its largest facility is at Kemps Corner and is a state-of-the-art 9000sq feet eye hospital. Since we have a kid’s eye doctor, the hospital can deal with children with ease. We have a huge play area apart from a few other child-friendly amenities to help examine children. Apart from the physical infrastructure our equipment is also suitable for children.
Dr. Deepak Garg is a Pediatric eye specialist in Mumbai and an adult cataract specialist. He did his ophthalmology training and Pediatric Ophthalmology fellowship at Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai. Post his fellowship he traveled across America, Canada, and the United Kingdom. This travel was to observe and gain hands-on experience with world-renowned pediatric ophthalmologists. He is himself a parent of two young children. He feels that having kids of his own has helped him in dealing with kids' eye problems. He remains very proficient in performing adult cataract surgeries. Adult cataract surgeries are the most common surgery he performs. Dr. Deepak is mainly available at the Kemps Corner Clinic in South Mumbai. Here is the location of our Kemps corner eye clinic.