Guidelines for Parents:

At birth, babies can see, though they have not attained normal vision. They can make out large shapes and faces but are unable to distinguish fine details. Bright strong colors in contrasting pattern of light and dark are well appreciated.

Your baby’s visual development is very dramatic during the first year of life. By the age of 3-4 months, most infants can see small objects and can distinguish between various colors (especially red and green).

They can focus clearly on close and distant objects and distinguish a real human face from one that is drawn. The Baby’s eyes should be well aligned to give perception of depth or binocular vision. Babies older than 3 months can usually follow or track an object. We can test this by holding a colored toy, and watch the baby’s eye as the toy is moved.

The common eye problems in children are:
  • Refractive Errors
  • Lazy Eye or Amblyopia
  • Squint
  • Watering / Blocked tear ducts

Refractive Errors:

When light rays from a distant object do not come to a focus on the retina, the image of the object appears blurred and the condition is called ammetropia.

Myopia
:
When the size of the eyeball is longer than normal, these light rays are focused in front of the retina. This is myopia or short sightedness. This can be corrected by concave lenses as spectacles or contact lenses.
Hypermeteropia
:
When the size of the eyeball is shorter than normal, these light rays are focused behind the retina. This can be corrected by convex lenses as spectacle or contact lenses.
Astigmatism
:
A normal eye has spherical cornea in all its meridians. When the cornea is steeper of flatter in any of its axii it gives rise to astigmatism. This is corrected by cylindrical lenses as spectacles or toric contact lenses.
Lazy Eye or Amblyopia:

Any condition that prevents the formation of a clear image can interfere with the development of vision in that eye. If this interference is not corrected in time, brain which receives blurred images from this eye tends to ignore it and concentrates on the better image from the other eye. Over time this results in the affected eye becoming lazy or Amblyopic. It affects 2% of the children and requires immediate attention. It can be corrected if the treatment is started in the early years of childhood. The treatment consists of patching the GOOD EYE, so that the affected eye is made to work and the child is encouraged to see with it. It requires a tremendous amount of co-operation and understanding by the parents. The results are not satisfactory if the treatment is started after the child is seven years old.

Squint:

Squint or crossed eye is a condition, where in both eyes do not move together. One eye deviates either inwards or outwards, while the other eye remains straight. It may also be alternating between the two eyes. Refractive errors are one of the most common cause of squint. The others being lazy eye, nerve or muscle weakness, injury etc.

Treatment of squint requires a combination of glasses, exercises and surgery. Surgery may be needed only in one eye or both eyes depending on the amount of squint and essentially it is a combination of loosening and tightening of the eye muscles.

Watering or Blocked Ducts:

Normally the tears that are formed by the tear glands in the eyes are drained through two holes in the corner of the eyelids and then to the nose through a duct. Sometimes this duct fails to open up after birth and this results in persistent watering and discharge from the eyes. It may be in one or both eyes.

70-80% of the times, this duct opens on its own with time. Massaging the tear duct is most important in helping to open it. Massage should be done with a thumb or forefinger and with a firm stroke in the direction from the eyes to the nose downwards and inwards. This helps to squeeze the pus downwards and open the duct. 15-20 strokes of massage should be done, three times a day for months. Antibiotic eye drops are prescribed to fight associated infections. If this fails to clear the blockage, probing with a wire probe is recommended. Here a wire is passed through the duct forcing it open. It is done under general anesthesia in small children. Surgery is the last resort in failed cases or in older children, where it is too late to try probing.

If this fails to clear the blockage, probing with a wire probe is recommended. Here a wire is passed through the duct forcing it open. It is done under general anesthesia in small children.

Surgery is the last resort in failed cases or in older children, where it is too late to try probing.