What are the problems for the eye

Signs of problems with your eyes

05.04.2021

Pediatricians regularly check their vision during preventive examinations - starting with U3 - and refer to the ophthalmologist if necessary. There are also some signs that parents should be aware of as they may indicate ametropia or other eye problems.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, some parents have postponed routine checkups. As a result, some children may have missed important eye tests, among other things.

"One reason that eye exams are so important in children is that we can still identify and treat eye problems with them that are otherwise at risk of permanent and lifelong visual impairment," explains Dr. Samantha Feldman, M.D., pediatric ophthalmologist at the Krieger Eye Institute (KEI; Baltimore, USA). As a rule, children cannot describe their vision problems. "They may not even know that their eyesight is impaired because it is normal for them," adds Feldman. The first signs of visual impairment must be diagnosed before children grow into teenagers and adults, as eye development problems can still be resolved in the first five to seven years of life. If the pediatrician thinks your child has a vision problem, they will refer the child to a pediatric ophthalmologist for further examination.

Squint

Squint, also called strabismus, is common in children. One or both eyes can migrate inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards. Strabismus can, in rare cases, be an indicator of a disorder affecting the child's brain, or clouding of the lens or eye injury. Most children with strabismus are harmless and should be treated. Otherwise there is a risk of long-term visual disturbances, especially amblyopia. Over time, the brain neglects the information from one eye, since the images of both eyes cannot be merged into one visual impression.

Sometimes young children look like they are cross-eyed, but in fact this is faked by a wide, flat nose or a fold of skin on the inner eyelid. Experts then speak of pseudostrabism. This appearance fades over time as the child, and with it the face and features, grow and change.

"Real strabismus that occurs after the first few months does not usually go away and requires an examination by a specialist," explains Dr. Feldman. "This may also be needed to tell the difference between pseudo-strabismus and real strabismus."

Constant blinking or squinting of the eyes

Another sign of a common eye problem in children is looking at someone or something with both or one eye closed. This can be associated with strabismus or nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. If parents see their child blinking, holding objects very close, or sitting close to the television or other devices, they should talk to the pediatrician or see an ophthalmologist who specializes in children.

Unusual head position

Some children turn or tilt their head to a specific position to help them see better. "Unusual head posture may be due to a problem with the muscles in the neck, but these children should also be screened for eye problems such as nystagmus (eye tremors)," explains Feldman.

White pupillary reflex

Sometimes leukocoria (white pupillary reflex) becomes evident in photographs with a flash. In the image, one pupil appears unusually “white” and the other is a normal black or red color. “With leukocoria, we worry about things like a cataract (clouding of the lens of the eye), a tumor in the eye, misalignment of the eyes or the need for glasses. If a parent notices this, he should take the child to the pediatrician immediately, ”emphasizes Feldman.

Drooping eyelid

"If one eyelid is really drooping, it can sometimes lead to impaired vision," says Feldman, describing another sign that can be linked to eye problems.

With many children, visual disturbances are not externally recognizable, which is why regular preventive examinations in the pediatrician practice are important.

Source: Newswise, Lifebridge Health