The importance of ophthalmologic care for children

The development of vision in the first years of life is of vital importance. When the child is born, the eye is immature and growing until the child is 7 to 8 years old. When the child is born, visual acuity is non-existent, and until the child is 5 years old, it does not reach 100% vision. Ocular anomalies that are not diagnosed early can cause problems in the development of vision and cause problems in the future.

When to visit the ophthalmologist for the first time?

The Eurolaser center recommends visiting the ophthalmologist in two situations:

  • When there are eye complaints or discomfort on the part of the child.
  • As a routine visit to the eye.

Eyesight problems in children can arise from…

  • Getting too close to the television or paper when they write.
  • Squinting when looking at distant objects.
  • Headache from eyestrain
  • Frequent red eyes
  • Deviation of the eyes
  • Vision problems from covering one eye or the other
  • Pupil whitish or grayish in color

Checkups with the ophthalmologist

  • In the first month of life to rule out serious eye diseases or malformations, such as glaucoma or congenital cataract.
  • At 7 months strabismus can be diagnosed.
  • At 18 months retinoblastoma (a common malignant intraocular tumor in childhood) can be diagnosed.
  • At 4 years of age, visual acuity and refractive errors are tested.
  • After the age of 4, check-ups should be done every two years until the age of 14.

Types of eye problems in children

Refractive defects

Refractive effects are what are usually called spectacle defects. In a normal eye, light rays converge on the retina, resulting in sharp images. Refractive errors are those that prevent us from seeing objects clearly, farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. It is important to detect them early because they can cause problems in learning and must be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

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Lazy eye

The lazy eye is the eye that has not developed normally during childhood and as a result has less vision than the other eye. Amblyopia affects about 4% of children and can be treated before the age of 8-9 years, resulting in a severe and irreversible visual defect. This is detected in routine examinations by the pediatrician or ophthalmologist, since there are no symptoms and it is usually a pathology that goes unnoticed. The most frequent causes are strabismus, refractive defects and, occasionally, eye diseases that prevent light from reaching the retina normally. Treatment consists of forcing the child to use the lazy eye to get used to it, covering the good eye.

Lacrimal obstruction

Tears lubricate the surface of the eye and drain through the lacrimal puncta into the nose. When this pathway is obstructed, lacrimal obstruction occurs, which results in tearing and discharge (discharge) from birth. In 90% of patients it resolves naturally within the first 6 months of life. Treatment with antibiotic eye drops and massage of the lacrimal sacrum may help. If this does not help, probing of the lacrimal duct should be performed.