Vision should be routinely checked at any age, including young children. Regular checkups will ensure early detection and proper treatment of every eye problem which has arisen. Doctors trained for eye care are ophthalmologists and if the patient is a child, then he/she needs a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Eye and Vision Tests in Children
Newborn babies are usually routinely checked right after birth and this exam involves vision check-up. Premature babies and all other high risk newborns should be thoroughly examined by pediatric ophthalmologists, while other kids’ eyes should be checked by their doctor during some routine visits. Further eye check-up is necessary at 3 ½ years, when kids should be screened for certain eye conditions and sharpness of vision (visual acuity test) and at the age of 5, there are vision and eye alignment tests. Older children are also examined in school or at their doctors, especially if they happen to have any eye problems or frequently suffer from headaches. Annual check-ups are obligatory for kids wearing contact lenses or glasses.
Symptoms of Eye Problems
Rubbing of the eyes and chronic redness or tearing of the eyes may suggest that the child is suffering from some eye diseases. Also, you might want to check the eyes of any kid who experience poor focusing and following of certain objects, who is extremely sensitive to light or his/her pupil is white instead of normal black color.
School children may have problems to read the blackboard or be unable to see anything from a distance. If he/she starts squinting or you notice sitting very close to the TV, you should probably visit pediatric ophthalmologist.
Children’s Eye Conditions
Kids may suffer from several eye problems, such as strabismus, amblyopia or some refractive errors of the eyes. Strabismus is the term used to describe misalignment of the eyes in any direction (in, out, up or down). Early detection of this problem enables doctors to resolve this problem and avoid complications like amblyopia. Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is actually condition when a person sees poorly, although the eye looks normal. This condition may cause permanent loss of vision and, therefore, must be timely treated.
Refractive errors may cause blurry vision and amblyopia. One of the most commonly seen refractive errors of the eyes is nearsightedness, but kids may also develop farsightedness or astigmatism.
Some eye problems are very serious and should be immediately taken care of. Retinopathy of prematurity, infantile cataract, congenital glaucoma, genetic and metabolic diseases of the eye and retinoblastoma (malignant tumor) are some of these severe eye problems that must be promptly treated by a medical professional.