Eye Conditions that Affect Children
Preserving the health and function of the eyes is vital to maintaining a good quality of life. Professional eye care services, such as comprehensive eye exams, allow eye conditions and diseases to be diagnosed early on, often before they result in any noticeable side effects.
In many cases, early detection and treatment is key to preserving vision and preventing more advanced eye complications. Most adults realize the importance of eye care, and schedule routine exams as recommended. Unfortunately, they don’t always do the same for their children.
Although it is easy to take a child’s vision and eye health for granted, there are many eye conditions that affect children. At his Cleveland, OH practice, Lifetime Eye Care, Dr. Jeffrey Schultz offers eye exams for children, and diagnoses and treats the most common conditions that affect the health or function of a child’s eyes.
Amblyopia is an eye condition that may develop during early childhood. This is more often referred to as “lazy eye.” Lazy eye is the loss of vision in one eye that can result when the vision in one eye is weaker than the other, or when one eye is crossed.
In either situation, the stronger eye takes over the vision, and the weaker eye’s image is blocked out. Over time, this will cause vision in the eye that was already weaker to become worse.
Fortunately, if amblyopia is diagnosed and treated early on, we can improve vision in the weaker eye so that patients can enjoy good vision in both eyes. There are many possible treatment techniques, including prescription lenses, eye exercises, eye patches, and surgery. Dr. Schultz will customize a treatment plan that is best suited to the unique needs of the patient.
Strabismus refers to a general misalignment of the eyes, which can lead to amblyopia. In children with strabismus, the eye muscles fail to work together, so the eyes do not line up. It is common for one or both eyes to appear crossed, for the eyes to point outward, or for the eyes to seem to be wandering.
During the newborn phase, the eye muscles are not strong enough to focus on objects, so it is normal for the eyes to frequently appear crossed. However, if a child has reached the age of four months and the eyes still seem unable to line up with each other, than it is important to have them examined.
By treating strabismus early on, we can prevent amblyopia from developing. Typical treatment methods for this condition include glasses, medication, and surgery.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is one of the most common eye diseases that affect children. Although conjunctivitis does not pose a serious threat as long as it is treated, it can lead to serious infections, or even vision impairment, if it is ignored.
This condition earned the more familiar name of “pink eye” because of the way it makes the eyes look. People with conjunctivitis have red, watery eyes. The severity of these symptoms may vary from patient to patient.
Conjunctivitis can be viral or bacterial, so the treatment method will depend on what strain the patient is suffering from. Common treatments include regular cleansing of the eyelids, the use of artificial tears, and antibiotic eye drops.
Millions of Americans suffer from vision impairment, and those problems usually develop during early childhood. Children may experience any of the most common forms of refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
When vision impairment goes undiagnosed, it can lead to social and emotional issues, as well as problems in school. Since many children are unable to express if they are having trouble seeing clearly, routine eye exams are the best way to diagnose refractive errors in children so that they can be corrected.
Glasses are the most common form of prescription eyewear for children, though contact lenses may be an option for children as young as 10 years old.
At Lifetime Eye Care, Dr. Jeffrey E. Schultz offers comprehensive eye care services that benefit patients of all ages. If you would like to learn more about these services, contact us at your earliest convenience.