Tips for spotting eye problems in children
Your child’s eyes, when do you think they need glasses? When do you think something is wrong? Is it something you can pick up or something your pediatrician needs to pick up? Eye issues we will discuss today on The Scope.
When should your child start eye exams
So when do you start caring about kids: their eyes, their glasses, things like that? The good news is that most children don’t start needing glasses until they reach grade school age. And you notice they squint when they try to do their schoolwork or they have to be moved to the front of the class because they can’t see very well, or they complain of really big pain in the neck. head after reading. This is another sign that your child might need glasses.
In fact, we start eye exams at age three, and your child should have an eye exam by your pediatrician every year on a well visit from age three.
They have different eye charts. You can make letters or you can make the ones that just have pictures and the kids can tell us what pictures they are until they are able to learn their letters.
But what about the little ones? What do we start to look for in the little ones when we start shining those lights in their eyes during exams? Well, we’re looking for different things to make sure their eyeballs are focusing properly.
So one thing that a lot of people are starting to ask questions about is, “My newborn baby looks fishy. Well, your newborn baby can’t focus their eyes very well, and they don’t have good eye muscle control until they are about two months old. After that, you should be able to notice that your child is able to move their eyes in the same directions.
What if your child can’t? What if one eyeball is looking down or up or left or right and the other is looking forward? It’s different.
Strabismus in young children
Strabismus is the invented name for this. This is where your child’s eyes point in different directions. One is pointed straight ahead, the other is pointed in a different direction. Sometimes you get what is called a “walleyed” where one or more eyes turn to your child’s ears. And then you have crossed eyes, which means they are looking towards your nose.
But both are forms of strabismus. Strabismus occurs when the six muscles that work together to move your child’s eyes don’t work together. It can be caused by a problem with your child’s muscle, nerve, or brain, but most people with strabismus are born with it and it tends to be hereditary.
So when your child’s eyes don’t tend to work together to look at an object, the brain pays attention to the image of one eye and ignores the image of the other eye. So what you need to do is watch: does it happen more when your child is tired or sick? This is usually when we take it. When you see that they are getting tired and one of the eyes is pulling away a bit, it is time to talk to your doctor.
Strabismus screening and treatment methods
A good thing is that we don’t normally see your kids when they are tired and fatigue is usually when it does occur. To take a picture. This is great because you will often notice the red eye reflex, you know when you take a photo and you have to use this red eye reduction trick in Photoshop because their kid looks like they have red eyes alive? Okay, those bright red eyes are really good. It is looking at the back of the eye. It’s called the retina, and you look at all the blood vessels in the back.
We like to see it. This is what we are looking for when we use this ophthalmoscope and look into your child’s eyes. We are looking for that red reflex. If they are not the same, you could have a problem with the functioning of the muscles of the eyeball.
So this is what we are looking for and if we find it, what should we do? Well, we usually refer to an ophthalmologist as he will be able to help us deal with this. They usually start with patches, or sometimes with the use of eye drops, depending on the age of the child to force your child’s brain to pay attention to the weak eye. And then the weak eye works harder and develops more normally.
In severe cases, your child may need surgery on their eye muscles to help reposition where the eyeballs go. They might need glasses, especially if your child has hyperopia because the eyeballs are not in the right direction. Glasses often help this when started early. And eye exercises.
Ophthalmologists can tell you about different eye exercises and what this also helps to help the eyeballs focus in the right place. Unfortunately, many forms of strabismus don’t improve with eye exercises, but it’s always something they try.
The differences between strabismus and amblyopia
What is the other kind of thing we hear the most with eyeballs not focusing properly? Lazy eye. We hear that a lot too. Lazy eye, the fancy name is amblyopia, and this is also where the eyes just don’t go to the right place.
You see again, you will notice that both eyes are normally straight, but this one drifts slightly a bit too. And the difference is that in most children, when you notice it so early, you can still have normal vision in both eyes. After the age of eight, the treatment is less effective, so you should try to monitor it early.
It works the same in that the brain gets images from the good eye and not the bad eye and this is more due to the shape of the eyeball and also the muscles of the eyeball. So there is more going on to try to induce amblyopia.
Babies often have no symptoms of lazy eye. They may have difficulty tracking objects with their eyes or may continue to have their eyes crossed after two months of age. Toddlers, they can favor one eye. And if you cover the eye that’s really strong, then they sort of flutter because they can’t see that well.
Older children will complain of having sore eyes, headaches. Ultimately, you will both notice the wandering eye with both amblyopia and strabismus. And sometimes it is even difficult for pediatricians to determine which is which and that is why an ophthalmologist will be your best bet because they will help you determine which is which.
Again, just like strabismus, lazy eye treatment begins with a patch, to force the weaker eye to work a little harder. And then if eye patches don’t help, then you switch to glasses.
Help your child to like their glasses
So you’ve tried the patch and the ophthalmologist tells you it’s time to wear glasses. So how can you help your child adjust to wearing glasses? Well it can be difficult.
You all remember the kids who wore glasses, they call them the four eyes and all kinds of things like that and it’s really not very pleasant. So the children will sometimes “forget” to put them on, “forget” to take them to school because they don’t like to be teased, they don’t want to wear them, they are uncomfortable. , they think they are ugly, they cannot play sports in their glasses.
You know it’s hard to switch to glasses, but if you help your child understand why they need to wear glasses, they’ll be more likely to wear them. Make sure your school-aged child understands that wearing his glasses will help him read. If they have headaches from their vision problems, it will decrease their headaches, and in fact a lot of people wear glasses, so it’s not like they’re alone. Flag the people who are wearing their glasses, because then you can say, “Look, look at this person who is wearing their glasses, look how well they can see. “
If your child continues to get teased by other students for coming to school with glasses now, talk to your child’s teacher. They are often used to dealing with situations like this and can help your child.
Another thing, have your child choose the type of frames they like. Ask them to choose their favorite color, which matches their wardrobe, some of them have characters they like. Make it something so that it’s more of a fashion statement than a medical device.
Make sure the glasses are snug. Any place you get your glasses will have someone who is qualified to make sure the glasses fit properly around the ears and around the nose. And you can usually have them readjusted whenever you need them at no cost.
Choosing safety glasses
Again, you also need to remember to keep safety in mind. Kids will break their glasses, I guarantee that, so make sure their lenses, instead of being glass, are made of something called polycarbonate. It is a safe material. It is lighter than other glasses and if your child plays sports, you can also get sports glasses made with the same material which will help protect them from eye injuries.
Another important thing is to make sure that you are not pestering. Don’t harass your child if you see them take off their glasses. Ask your child to remember to put them on and when you see your child wearing their glasses, compliment them. Just say, “Oh, I see you are wearing your glasses, thank you that really helps me know you can see well”.
Make your child’s glasses part of their daily routine. Put them on when they get dressed, put them on when they brush their teeth, make it part of their daily routine, and soon they might find that they don’t even remember putting them on. because it becomes such a habit.
And make sure your child has regular appointments with the ophthalmologist to make sure their prescriptions are up to date. Again we check their eyes on every well visit so we do it every year and if we notice their vision is bad with their glasses on then we can even say it’s about time even if you have seen the ophthalmologist six months ago something has changed with your child’s eyes and you should ask your eye doctor to recheck the prescription and make sure it is the right one or that it hasn’t need another prescription.
So, at the end of the day, if you think you notice something wrong with the way a child sees things, go ahead and have your pediatrician take a look at it. We can check the eyes. We can do an eye exam, see what they look like, if they’re old enough to do an eye exam. The bottom line is that for children their eyes are still developing, so the sooner you get an eye problem identified and corrected, the better for their overall visual health.
last update: january 18, 2021
originally published: July 15, 2014