India houses the youngest population across the globe, and yet the prevalence of visual impairment among children is extremely high. Studies suggest that 1 in every 1000 children is blind, with the burden of blindness in children known to be around 0.8/1000.
The prevalence of myopia is 8.5% in Indian children, with the highest percentage found in urban school-going kids. Moreover, the recent global pandemic has only further aggravated visual impairments in children due to prolonged screen time under online learning models and the quest for digital entertainment due to intermittent lockdowns.
Let us have a look at common pediatric eye disorders:
Lazy eye – This condition is also called Amblyopia, where one or both eyes do not develop normal vision due to abnormal brain function in the visual portion. This weakens the eye, leading to long-term vision impairment. Glasses, eye drops, and sometimes surgery is suggested by eye experts.
Refractive errors – Such conditions are characterized by changes in the shape of the lens, differences in the amount of light received, or errors in the retinal imaging of the eye. The most common symptom is blurry vision. Therefore, glasses are often prescribed ranging from convex, concave, conical, or hybrid lenses as per the impairment diagnosed. There are mainly four types of refractive errors:
- Near-sightedness or myopia in which faraway objects appear blurry.
- Far-sightedness or hyperopia makes nearby objects appear blurry.
- Astigmatism causes the axis of the eye to change shape, thus making distant or nearby things blurry.
- Presbyopia usually affects middle-aged or older individuals who have difficulty seeing nearby objects.
Epiphora – This is a chronic eye condition that occurs soon after birth but can also be acquired as one grows older. The eyes experience excessive tearing due to blockage of the tear sacs. Although it improves within 6-12 months with proper treatment, it may involve surgery in rare cases. Most of the time, eye drops and tear sac massage are prescribed. Or surgical probing of the drainage system is carried out. Epiphora can also be seen in pediatric glaucoma and ocular surface diseases.
Cortical Visual Impairment –
Also denoted as CVI, occurs when the brain’s visual center does not function properly. This leads to erratic visual representation, thus preventing normal vision.
Developmental vision abnormalities –
Conditions like coloboma, microphthalmia (small eye), and optic nerve hypoplasia generally occur during the fetal stage in the womb. This can lead to permanent vision loss during infancy.
Double vision –
Diplopia or double vision occurs due to misalignment of the eyes (strabismus), causing a person to see the same object at two different places at a given point in time. The object can be displayed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Double vision can result from many conditions and should be evaluated at the time of onset. Prism glasses, strabismus surgery, or Botox injections are common treatment options.
Pediatric cataract –
This condition refers to the cloudiness or opacification of the eye lens in children. Children get affected mainly during birth or early childhood. So, High blood pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve causing impaired vision. Symptoms include cloudy corneas, light sensitivity, redness of the eye, tearing, etc. Laser cataract surgery is one of the most effective treatment options suggested.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)-
This is an eye disease that occurs in premature infants. The primary causative factor is the abnormal development of blood vessels in the retina. The disease progression gradually starts from blurry vision to sight-threatening changes. These include strabismus (eye misalignment), myopia (nearsightedness), cataract, and, in severe cases, blindness. Children with RoP have often advised laser treatment, injections, medications, etc.
Present circumstances have increased the demand for telemedicine services for chronic eye conditions. If your child or a child you know has been suffering from eye disorders for quite a long time, it is time to seek a first or a second opinion from super-specialists. Searching for ‘best ophthalmologist near me, ‘pediatric ophthalmologist‘, ‘eye doctor near me’, or ‘eye specialist near me’ can redirect anyone to accomplished ophthalmologists at SeekMed. SeekMed is committed to improving child eye health in India.
Adhering to the preventive model, our super-specialists emphasize eye screening, building awareness about the refractive error, remote access to healthcare, Vitamin A supplementation, exploring best treatment options such as visual aids, preventive or corrective vaccination, etc. Simply search for the ‘best ophthalmologist near me’ or ‘pediatric ophthalmologist’ to consult award-winning doctors online and take better care of your child’s eyes.