Pediatric ophthalmology is a sub-specialty of ophthalmology concerned with eye diseases and vision care in children.
About 80% of learning in the child’s first 12 years come through his eyes. Children are not aware of their vision disorders and mostly grow with this. Truly, diagnosis can help prevent many eye diseases.
The Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Service provides comprehensive primary care for the diagnosis and management of infant and child vision and common childhood vision disorders.
Strabismus or Squint- is a misalignment of the eyes that affects 2-4% of the population; it is often associated with amblyopia.
Amblyopia (lazy eye)- occurs when the vision of one eye is significantly better than the other eye, and the brain begins to rely on the better eye and ignore the weaker one. Amblyopia affects 4% of the population and is clinically diagnosed when the refractive error of one eye is more than 1.5 diopters different than the other eye. The management of amblyopia involves correcting of significant refractive errors and using techniques that encourage the brain to pay attention to the weaker eye such as patching the stronger eye.
Retinopathy of Prematurity: It is a serious condition, developing in premature babies, which can damage retina and unless properly managed, can cause irreversible blindness at an early age.
Pediatric cataracts: Cataract in the child’s eye leads to vision loss and needs early management to prevent further problems like amblyopia. Surgery is done for its removal and depending on age, intraocular lens may be implanted.
Pediatric glaucoma: Found in 0.1 – 0.2 % of pediatric patients. It may present with big eyes, watering or may have no symptom at all. It requires early diagnosis and management.
Refractive errors– such as myopia (near-sightedness) ,hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism can often be corrected with prescriptions for glasses or contacts.
Convergence insufficiency, Accommodative insufficiency and asthenopia– are very common in children. Asthenopia is an ophthalmologic condition that manifests itself through nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, red eyes, eyestrain, pain in or around the eyes, blurred vision, headache and occasional double vision. Symptoms often occur after reading, computer work, or other activities that involve tedious visual tasks. Sometimes, asthenopia can be due to specific visual problems, such as uncorrected refraction errors or binocular vision problems like accommodative insufficiency or heterophoria. Evaluation of visual issues is vital in a child, facing sudden deterioration of academic performance, which may be due to undiagnosed vision problems and may require glasses to correct refractive error.
Other- Congenital malformations affecting vision or the tear drainage duct, Orbital tumors like dermoids tumor.
The optical system of the eye focuses the image behind the retina rather than on the retina. Young eyes have the ability to bring the image forward and focus it on the retina. Children under the age of 8 are normally mildly farsighted.
Myopia or nearsightedness occurs when the optical system of the eye focuses the image in the front of the retina rather than on the retina. This can only be corrected with glasses.