Children with poor vision, uncorrected eye conditions or eye health problems face many challenges in life, socially, academically, and athletically. Ensuring proper eye care is the primary responsibility of the parents. Regular eye check-ups help a lot in securing a child’s future as ophthalmologists diagnose and treat eye-related diseases.

Some ophthalmologists have specialisation in treating eye conditions that affect babies and children. They are called as ‘paediatric ophthalmologists’. These eye doctors provide a wide range of services like eye examination, treatment of lazy eyes, childhood cataract and squint and perform eye surgeries on children.

Need to Visit a Paediatric Ophthalmologist

Regular comprehensive eye check-ups are necessary not only for adults but for children and babies as well. This is important because the majority of the kids do not report eye problems to their parents. Children cannot entirely understand their visual skills. As a result of which they tend to fail to report any changes in their vision. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of parents to keep a keen eye on any change in their child’s physical symptoms, behavioural pattern, etc.

When to consult an eye specialist for your child?

Undiagnosed eye problems or abnormalities can lead to poor vision or permanent blindness. Hence, paediatric ophthalmologists across the world suggest a comprehensive eye screening by a professional at the age of one. Early diagnosis of the eye condition can help in better treatment and good visual recovery.  In newborns, it is essential to diagnose and rectify the eye related issues, like neonatal conjunctivitis, eye tumour, retinopathy of prematurity, cataract, as soon as possible. If the eye condition is left untreated within the first six months of the baby’s birth, there’s a high chance that the child will be visually impaired for the rest of their life.

Here are some signs and symptoms which demand attention from your child’s eye specialist:

Physical symptoms:

There are certain eye problems which you can quickly figure out just by looking at the eyes of your child. Book an appointment with your paediatric ophthalmologist immediately if your child shows the following symptoms:

  • Cloudiness in the pupil of your baby

  • Redness and swelling

  • Droopy eyelids

  • Crossed or misaligned eyes

  • Eyes that flutter

  • Bulging in the eyes

  • Chronic tearing

  • Squinting

  • Frequent rubbing of eyes

Common eye diseases in children

Common eye diseases in children

Behavioural changes: 

If your child shows specific behavioural changes such as bad performance in school, straining to read or watching television from a very close distance, he needs to be examined by a paediatric ophthalmologist. All of these signs are generally red flags that the child might need glasses. Delay in treatment of poor vision in your child may lead to the problem of lazy eyes. If the child has had an injury in or around the eyes seek an eye specialist’s attention immediately.

Developmental delay: 

Even if you have the slightest doubt that your child is not  developing properly in a way he/she should be, then it’s time to talk to the doctor. Your doctor will recommend a detailed eye screening to rule out a problem related to vision or eyes.

Eye Injury or Trauma: 

Directly go to the emergency eye care facility if your child suffers an eye injury or trauma, depending on the severity.

Family History: 

If your child’s brothers or sisters have any vision or eye-related problems, then it is essential to get a consultation from an eye specialist. This is crucial because your child is more likely to get vision issues or eye problems if they run in the family.

As good vision and healthy eyes are the key factors in the child’s learning and development; it is best to get regular eye check-ups for your child.

Dr. Alka Rani

Dr. Alka Rani

MD, Medical Retina Specialist at Neoretina
Dr. Alka Rani completed her basic medical education from Government medical college, Chandigarh in 1997 (1992 batch). She completed MD ophthalmology from prestigious institute Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi in 2001. After completing MD, she was appointed as Senior registrar in Vitreoretina at Dr. RPC, AIIMS uptill 2005. From 2005 to 2006, she worked as Adjunct faculty in vitreoretina unit in LVPEI, Banjara hills, Hyderabad, where she was a part of Diabetic retinopathy project, software development for Diabetic retinopathy screening and Posurdex RVO, DME trial. She has to her credit many publications in national and international journals, manual on diabetic retinopathy and a book on Diabetic Eye Diseases. Her Current field of interest is Diabetic retinopathy, ARMD and retinopathy of prematurity.
Dr. Alka Rani