There are many eye-related problems that can occur in a child. One of the common misperceptions is that a child cannot have the same eye problems that adults have—this is in fact is not true. Children can get eye problems starting from the cornea; the front of the eye to the retina; the back of the eye.
Below are some of the many common complex eye problems which need to be seen by a Paediatric Ophthalmologist.
1. My child’s eyes look different through the camera or in a picture
This is also called a White Pupil, commonly seen while using a flash light camera. The reason may be a simpler and treatable condition like a Cataract, and may lead to a potentially lethal tumour at the back of the eye called a Retinoblastoma. A white reflex needs to be examined by an ophthalmologist soon to rule out a sinister cause.
2. My child keeps on bumping to things on his way and misses steps
Chronic headaches can be due to a variety of causes. But a simple way to check if it is not sinister is to get the optic nerves checked. The optic nerves are directly linked to the brain and any changes in the brain can be seen on the nerves. It is important to get a full eye exam if a child is complaining of chronic headaches especially with vomiting and feeling sick.
3. My Child doesn’t like to look at bright light or sunlight?
Corneal problems or inflammation inside the eye can lead to pain while looking at the sunlight, also called Photophobia. Certain children with joint problems or who start to limp need to have theirs eye examined.
4. My child keeps one eye closed
A new onset Squint or misaligned eye can lead to double vision and a child may close one eye to relieve himself of the double vision. Another cause would be to have a foreign body in the eye which hurts while one blinks.
5. My child blinks very frequently
Frequent blinking is a common problem in children. In majority, the problem is related to the surface of the eye, either affected by dryness or allergy. With the advent of tablets, phones, electronic devices, most of the children are spending a lot of time staring at the screen. This results in infrequent blinking and less spread of tears around the cornea. Very rarely, this a result of a neurological problem. If frequent blinking is associated with facial movements or spasm, you need to consult a physician.
6. My child always has teary eyes
Watery eyes are commonly seen in new born babies in the first few weeks, which usually goes away. But if it persists with discharge, then the child needs examination. Some older children have the same problem which can be related to allergies or blocked noses related to allergic rhinitis. A watery eye which also looks bigger than normal needs to be seen sooner.