Childhood Eye Diseases
Children typically learn through the eyes. Therefore, good healthy eyesight is essential for things such as writing, reading, watching, and even playing. Vision is not all about clearly viewing closer and far away. It also helps differentiate the similar letter like d and b accordingly. Furthermore, they enable easy remembrance of the information the child reads and pictures at the back of his or her mind.
Unfortunately, children’s eyes are highly susceptible to a wide range of childhood eye diseases and injuries. This is because they are still delicate and developing, unlike those of the adults. These eye conditions not only impact vision but also interfere with the child’s normal growth and development. Early diagnosis and treatment are thus essential.
Types of Childhood Eye Diseases
Typically, several eye diseases can occur and affect children’s vision. While some conditions are minor, others tend to be chronic, and immediate medical care is essential. Learning the types of childhood eye diseases is generally important since it helps detect the condition earlier. This, in the long run, also translates to successful recovery and improved quality of life.
Overall, these are the common types of childhood eye diseases;
Amblyopia: This is a common eye disorder in which one eye or both look normal but cannot see clearly for certain reasons. Refractive disorders, ptosis, strabismus, and cataracts can trigger amblyopia.
Conjunctivitis: This is associated with reddening eyes. Infections, allergies, or systemic diseases can cause or trigger conjunctivitis.
Ptosis: This condition is characterized by a droopy eyelid. Amblyopia could occur if the lid completely covers the pupil.
Strabismus: This is a misalignment of the eyes. Strabismus comprises three different categories, including esotropia (eye crossing), exotropia (eye turning out), and hypertropia (eye turning up). Amblyopia may be caused by strabismus.
Stye and chalazion: This is associated with a reddish and sore lump around the eyelid edge. It’s caused by the oil that clogs the pores. The Meibomian glands produce the oil. The treatment options can include lid scrubs, warm compresses, and probable excision.
Blocked tear duct: This is associated with a teary eye but without any coexistent redness. The congenital condition requires immediate surgical procedure as soon as the child reaches the age of one. Nasal congestion can temporarily trigger blocked tear ducts as with the common cold.
Cellulitis: This is an infection of the skin of the eyelids. There are two types of eyelid cellulitis; it includes orbital cellulitis and pre-septal cellulitis. Orbital cellulitis is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery. It is caused by an infection around the muscle cone, which is located behind the eye. A child with this disorder experiences difficulty rotating his or her eye, and it would cause pain. To prevent the occurrence of orbital cellulitis, pre-septal cellulitis must be treated as soon as possible.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Childhood Eye Diseases
Every parent needs to pay attention to eye disease signs that children can experience. With this, they can easily identify the condition at an early stage and seek medical attention. Overall, the common childhood eye diseases symptoms can include the following;
- Blinking more often
- Blurred vision
- Changes in the color of the eye
- Difficulties focusing
- Difficulty identifying familiar objects
- Eye redness
- Eyes that are moist or watery
- Falling or tripping more often
- Intolerance to bright direct sunlight
- Lower peripheral vision
- Maintaining eye contact is difficult
- Particular color choice
- Preference for observing lights
- Unusual or abnormal visual behaviors
- Visual reactions that are delayed
Diagnosing Childhood Eye Diseases
A comprehensive eye exam usually takes approximately two hours and includes numerous assessments. The pediatrician may alter their procedures in order to get close to and less likely to scare small children. The tests for school-age children are more similar to those of adults. The physicians will also inspect the outer part of the eyes and see how they react to a toy or light.
The specialist can cover or ask the child to close one eye to check how the other eye moves and concentrates. They will then use an eye map to assess your child's close and far vision. After that, they will ask the child to read the letters which they can see well. For those who are not able to read, they can identify different shapes instead. The doctor can as well perform a colorblindness test. Older children will search for numbers of colored dots, and younger children will look for shapes.
Other diagnostic tests forchild eye problems include;
Determining refractive error: This helps determine the child’s need for and power of eyeglasses. In most children, this examination is conducted following dilation to find out an objective calculation.
Motility tests: This refers to quantitative assessment of ocular misalignment that is needed for strabismus medical and surgical management plans.
Biomicroscopy and dilated fundus examinations: Both are required to check for eye disease related to systemic disorders. They include juvenile idiopathic arthritis, diabetes, genetic anomalies, neurologic pathology or increased intracranial pressure, and serious ocular diseases, including glaucoma and cataracts.
Examination under anesthesia: This diagnostic procedure could be done to identify and manage symptoms. It’s recommended for patients who may not accept sufficient examination and treatment in the clinic.
Treatment Options for Childhood Eye Diseases
Childhood eye disease treatmentdepends on the type of eye condition, severity, and the child’s age. In most cases, the pediatrician can recommend treatment options such as;
Examples of medical treatment option are;
- Use of eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Amblyopia therapy which includes glasses, pharmacology treatment, and patching
- Systemic or topical therapy for chalazia, blocked tear ducts, glaucoma, inflammation in or on the eye, and eye infections. Alternative medications can include antiviral, steroids, and antibiotics.
A surgical procedure is sometimes necessary, especially if the eye condition is severe. It's generally essential in the following ways;
- Removal of chalazia
- Irrigation and probe for congenital blocked tear duct
- Eye muscle surgical procedure for strabismus
- Children cataract excision involving the use of intraocular lenses
Preventing Childhood Eye Injuries
Eye injuries are more common among children. Young children are highly prone to the surrounding hence require regular supervision. These essential tips will help you protect your child again eye injuries;
- Always keep the chemicals, cleaning supplies, and sprays in safe and out-of-reach locations. In case you put these items under a sink, make sure that you secure the cabinet with a child lock.
- Toys that are suitable for the child's age should be purchased and used.
- Put safe and protective gates at the top and bottom of the stairs and cover all the sharp corners.
- Ensure that you use the right car seat size for the kid
- When participating in various activities like arts and crafts with the toddler, always ensure that you provide additional supervision.
How to Care For the Eye Injury
Despite strict and close observation, children can still suffer from eye injuries. When your child is hurt or injured, you should consider the following crucial tips;
- If the child has an eye injury, you should seek immediate medical attention. At times, small injuries can worsen and lead to more serious problems if they are not appropriately handled.
- Avoid removing the debris. When something is stuck in the child's eye and is causing irritation, you should not directly remove it. Instead, raise the eyelid and make the child blink constantly. It is essential that you look for medical attention if the child is not able to flush out the debris with tears.
- Do not apply any medicine or ointment into the child’s eyes. This is unless the doctor has medically recommended you to do so.
- Do not rub, touch, or apply pressure on the eye injuries.
- Make sure that you gently cover the injury or the puncture wound before you seek further medical treatment.
- Avoid flushing the injured eyes with water, not unless they are exposed to harmful chemicals.
Since a child's visual systems are still evolving, severe injuries, as well as defects and refractive errors, may have a significant effect on the long-term vision state of the child. Therefore, if you notice any visual issues with the child, schedule an appointment with your eye specialist as soon as possible. The earlier you identify the problem, the sooner the pediatrician will diagnose and treat it. This results in high positive results.
Healthy eyes and normal vision are an essential part of children’s growth and development. Therefore, any injury or disease affecting the eyes could generally impact the child’s quality of life. Some of these conditions are minor and can improve with time, while others are severe, and immediate medical attention is necessary. Although childhood eye diseases are common, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent additional complications and improve the overall health of the child.
To ensure that your child receives the best treatment and care, you can always choose the CloudHospital healthcare platform. It comprises a team of pediatric ophthalmologists and other pediatricians with skills and experience in diagnosing, treating, managing, and preventing eye conditions.