Common childhood eye problems
Expert session Question & Answers

Could you please throw light on Lazy eye syndrome and how it may affect a child's development?

Healthy eyes and good vision play a critical role in how infants and children learn to see. 

It is important to detect any problems early to ensure babies have the opportunity to develop the visual abilities they need to grow and learn. Lazy eye is something that  a child gets when one or both eyes are not able to see correctly either due to a spectacle number or squint. If vision is not optimum the eye is ignored by the brain and thus even though it looks normal from outside the vision may remain poor. If corrected in the right age chances of good vision are very high.

How can it be corrected?

Correct the cause. If it’s due to a spectacle number then wearing glasses. Patching or vision therapy may be necessary in some cases

My daughter is 2.5 years old. We all know screen time is restricted for younger kids all the more, for this age kid how much screen time is permitted only considering the eye care point of view?

Computers mobile and tablets to be avoided. TV viewing an hour per day is accepted.

My son is 9 years old. He has squint eyes as in sometimes it looks like squint in some angle for him. This is not the case always, but sometimes in certain angles.

This needs checking by an ophthalmologist. If vision in the individual eye is good and squint is intermittent it may not be significant.

One of my son’s eyes looks smaller than the other. Why is it so?

Some difference in the two eyes is the rule. No one has perfect symmetry. Unless of course there is some sort of inflammation which needs treatment

A 7 year old girl having painless cyst (chalazion) on upper left eyelid since more than a year. Can you please suggest something apart from operation?

There may be natural spontaneous resolution in some cases. You can also try taking homeopathy for this.

My child is 11 years old and since he was 5-6 years old he has a persistent problem of eyes watering. We had visited an ophthalmologist back then who had suggested eye drops which got sorted back then but only to return back in between sometimes. Other reasons being TV or mobile or sunny or cold, so is there any permanent solution you can suggest please.

It may be due to allergies. In such cases we have to look for what the primary cause is and use preventative measures and precautions

At what age can any kind of eye issue be detected?

Your baby should have the first check at six months. This can be done by the paediatrician. First comprehensive eye check by an ophthalmologist at the age 3&½. After that yearly if any problem is detected. If not then once every couple of years.

My 9 year old has some dryness in the eyelashes, always of white colour. I apply castor oil neosprin etc but it still persists. If we touch it, it gets irritating for my daughter.

This is because of blepharitis or tendency to dandruff. You need a regular cleaning regime. It’s known to be recurring so best to follow a schedule.

My five year old's eyes start watering while watching television. It is mainly because she doesn't blink while watching tv. (She has zero time with gadgets and limited tv time). How to prevent this?

She may have a refractive error. It’s time to get her eyes checked. If not then drops may be prescribed

How can we determine if the child has a color identification problem by the age of 5?

There are colour vision charts. Some are available online, Ishihara chart. You can check it.

Does regular use of eye lubricant for dryness harmful? I live in a place which is very polluted and my eyes become dry the moment I stop using an eye lubricant. I use eye mist forte.

Drops have limitations. They are only effective for a few hours after instilling them. They are like BP medicines if you stop the BP rises. Unfortunately there are no effective ways to completely cure dryness.

What is a cleaning regime? Is it due to watching tv or due to dust?

It’s a tendency. Some people have it where others don’t. So personal hygiene measures have to be taken.

My daughter is 13 years old. From the past 7 years, due to season and weather changes, her eyes always become red and they start itching. What can be done?

This is a typical allergy. She will grow out of it eventually. Make sure that she doesn’t rub her eyes. That can lead to problems later.

My child has 0.75 power in his left eye, vision is 6/6. Do I need to go for specs? His age is 6 years.

It may not be necessary but you will need regular follow up with your doctor.

My son who is 7 years old sometimes complains about seeing things in doubles. Can it be an eye problem?

Maybe has a small spectacle number. Ask him if he sees the blackboard clearly.

My son is complaining about having a difficult vision. No headache or eye pain, but sometimes we see tears coming.

That’s a sign of eye strain. Let him use glasses for fine activities then. TV, school, studies. Most parents believe that if their child had an eye or vision problem they would know. However, many a times children can’t express or don’t realize the difficulty they are having, and often vision problems will be overlooked. Further, many eye or vision problems don’t show symptoms until they have progressed significantly which often makes the condition harder to treat.

Can you tell the effects of prolonged screen time?

Prolonged viewing of a computer screen can make any slight existing vision defects more noticeable but it is not going to damage their eyes. It can however give you what is sometimes known as “computer vision syndrome” – eye strain, headaches, gritty eyes and blurry vision.

Dark circles are mainly related to poor sleep patterns and nutritional issues. Children who are fussy eaters can have anemia and Vitamin deficiencies

My son is 7 years old and watches too much screen no matter how much I try to control. I am really worried about his eyesight and also he has started getting a lot of dark circles. What should be done?

Involve them in outdoor activities. 5-6 hours of outdoor games per week are important for preventing Myopia.

What should I include in my son’s diet that can help improve vision?

Healthy balanced diet. Dal rice and vegetables with lemon juice. Lemon juice provides vitamin C which is very essential for iron absorption. Yellow vegetables like pumpkin. Papaya and berries. Jamun is especially good.

What is myopia?

Minus numbers which some children are prone to. Incidence of spectacles in children has increased due to excessive near activities.

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Anagha Behere – Common childhood eye problems

Anagha Behere – Common childhood eye problems

Anagha Behere is an Eye Surgeon from Pune from the prestigious Armed Forces Medical College Pune and Super-specialization in Oculoplasty at the prestigious LV Prasad Eye Hospital. She is associated with Lifeline hospital Aundh, Sahyadri Speciality Hospital, Pune and Aims Hospital as a consultant eye surgeon. She has been an University topper and has an experience of 22 years.