Eye Diseases in Children

Eye diseases in children are many, but are often overlooked for low awareness on the subject among child care providers. Many children who visit pediatricians for delayed milestones are actually suffering from vision defects.

Several form of disorders occur on path of vision:

Path of Vision

Infections and allergies in children that cause red eyes or excessive watering are promptly taken care of. But eye pain and inability to see, when not obvious, get often mistaken for temper tantrums, behavior problems, delayed milestones, poor interpersonal relationships and emotional disturbances like panic attack.

Predisposing factors

Generalized chronic illness influence children's eye health

Essential nutrition in eye health

  1. Night blindness 

  2. Conjunctival xerosis; dryness of conjunctiva. 

  3. Corneal xerosis; dryness of cornea which may even ulcerate (keratomalacia) with progression of the disease. The ulcers form scars as they heal leading to opacification of cornea thereby severe vision loss. 

  4. Bitot spots; small lustreless greyish white triangular deposits on conjunctiva that is visible between the two eyelids (palpebral fissure). Usually occur simultaneously in both the eyes 

  5. Xerophthalmic fundus; small white circular retinal lesions along with constriction of the visual fields.

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Prenatal causes

Perinatal causes

  • Effect of child birth on newborn baby; low oxygen supply, birth trauma and neonatal eye infections endanger eye health.

  • Low birth weight babies; with advancements in newborn care systems more and more premature and IUGR babies survive. These babies are at high risk of retinopathy and neurodevelopmental disorders.

    The risk increase if the birth weight is less than 1500 grams and gestational age below 28 weeks. At the onset, majority of them suffer only from a mild form of eye disease.

    Therefore, evaluation by an ophthalmologist at 4 weeks of age and regularly thereafter will help in timely management of eye diseases and prevent vision loss.

Eye injuries are common during childhood; if left unattended, they can lead to visual disorders. 

Poor hygiene; unclean water supply, use of shared eye makeup

Infections: Generalized sever infections like measles, herpes, chickenpox etc. are known to cause permanent vision defects. It is therefore best to follow recommended immunization schedule religiously.

Screen exposure; below 3 years of age impedes the development of normal vision pathway, mars cognitive development and school readiness gets delayed. In older children screen addiction leaves practically no time for daytime outdoor activities, which increases the risk of myopia initiation and progression.

Psychological disturbances can manifest visual disorders. These children need thorough evaluation to rule out eye diseases followed by sympathetic reassurance.

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Related pages of interest

Diabetic Eye Diseases

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Eye: Glaucoma

Diabetic Cataract

Prevention of Myopia Progression

Watch for Vision Defects

Television Viewing and visual Impairment

Prevention of Visual Impairment in Children

Applying for Disability Benefits

Low Vision Therapies (Opens New window)

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