The American Academy of Ophthalmology tells us that 1 in 20 preschool children and 1 in 4 school-age children have an eye condition, which if left untreated, could cause permanent vision loss. From the day a child is born their eyes are continuing to develop. Most children have vision screening of some type by the time they are 3 years old to rule out any problems. Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Associates in Newton Square, PA treats all 6 common pediatric eye conditions.
Retinopathy Of Prematurity (ROP)
Premature infants have many physical problems related to incomplete or abnormal development. One such condition is ROP, where the blood vessels in the child’s retina are not properly developed. Frequent checks in the NICU diagnose its progression or improvement. It can cause sight-threatening problems which may require intervention by a pediatric ophthalmologist like Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Associates.
Refractive errors are the most common visual conditions for both children and adults. Glasses and contact lenses can correct these errors most of the time. They are caused by the shape of the cornea and how light enters the eye and whether it correctly focuses on the retina.
- Nearsightedness, or myopia, is when someone has clear near vision, but cannot see well into the distance.
- Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is when someone has clear distance vision, but has difficulty seeing things up close like to read.
- Astigmatism causes blurred and distorted vision at any distance due to the uneven shape of the cornea. Children and adults can have both astigmatism AND one of the other refractive errors.
This condition is caused by one eye not developing as much as the other, forcing a child to use the stronger eye to see. This condition is also known as lazy eye because the brain starts to ignore the weaker eye. Eventually, it can lead to other visual problems. This is a good example why early screening is needed to determine how well each eye sees. Once diagnosed, glasses, eye patches, prescription eye drops, and/or surgery can treat the condition.
Strabismus Or Crossed Eyes
When a child has strabismus the eyes are misaligned. One eye can look inward, outward, up, or down. It causes double vision, poor depth perception, and reduced vision in the turned eye. It can lead to amblyopia if not treated in a timely fashion. There are multiple treatments for strabismus, but intervention should begin at an early age. Surgery is a last resort if other treatments do not work.
Ptosis is a condition where one eyelid droops down over a child’s vision. A child may be born with ptosis, or it can occur during childhood. It compromises clear vision and symptoms include looking up to be able to see. Surgery may be necessary if the droop is severe.
Blocked Tear Duct
20% of babies are born with a blocked tear duct. This prevents fluid from draining from the eye properly causing irritation, a watery, or sometimes infected eye. There are ways to massage the baby’s eye to open the duct, or a simple procedure can be performed by a pediatric ophthalmologist like Pediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus Associates.
Take Away For Parents
Children cannot always verbalize about their problematic vision. Seeing a board-certified pediatric ophthalmologist is essential to keep your child’s eyes healthy and to protect their vision.