We provide professional support in PEDIATRIC EYE HEALTH.
Due to the negligence associated with the lack of awareness on eye diseases, children may encounter health issues which may become very difficult to treat in the latter part of their lives. Many significant eye diseases occur in the early stages of life. Successful results can be achieved with early diagnosis and correct treatment.
In order to protect the eyes of children aged 0-16 years, children should undergo eye examinations:
• At 1 year of age,
• Before starting school,
• Throughout school age on a regular basis.
However, in case of the following symptoms, an eye doctor specialized in children’s eye diseases (pediatric ophthalmologist) should be consulted immediately.
• Eye misalignment (strabismus)
• Inability to follow
• Redness or watering in the eye
• Shaking eyes
• Squinting or closing one eye
• White spots or a hazy color in the pupil which should normally be black
• Constantly holding objects near the eye
• Looking with the head tilted to one side
• Rubbing the eyes frequently
• Premature birth
• Diagnosis of lazy eye in the family
• Eye disorders in the family
Eye Discharge and Redness
Babies can have eye discharge and redness in the first 15 days following birth. The day of onset after birth and the color and nature of discharge is important. Treatment should be started by an ophthalmologist. Redness or discharge developing after 1-2 months may not require special treatment. If the condition lasts more than 1-2 days, eye drops may be necessary.
Eye redness may sometimes be related to the cornea. An ophthalmologist should be consulted if the baby is squinting or has watering in the eye.
Watering in the Eye
Watering of one or both eyes that starts immediately or within 2 weeks after birth is usually related with narrow or obstructed tear ducts. If there is total obstruction, watering may be accompanied by frequent eye discharge. In this case, not much redness accompanies the discharge typically. If there is discharge, it should be cleaned; an appropriate eye drop should be used and massage should be applied as required to clear the duct. Usually this condition resolves with massaging in the first 6 months. If watering of the eye continues until 1 year of age and there is frequent eye discharge, a probe is applied to clear the obstructed duct.
Strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes. There are 6 extraocular muscles in each eye. Strabismus develops if one or more of these are too weak or strong. While one eye gazes straight, the other can look inward, outward, upward or downward. Sometimes deviation is seen in both eyes. Deviation of the eyes can be permanent or temporary, depending on the cause of strabismus. There is no single cause of strabismus. Strabismus may occur for different reasons.
Early diagnosis is very important in the treatment of strabismus. If the first eye examination is delayed, esthetic issues in addition to permanent poor vision problems can develop in the children’s eyes. Children should be examined by a pediatric ophthalmologist immediately after birth and regularly during childhood even if they have no eye-related complaints.
Other Eye Diseases in Children
• Refractive errors
• Eyelid diseases
• Corneal Diseases
• Diseases of the retina and optic nerve
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
Retinopathy of Prematurity is described as one of the most important eye health issues affecting premature babies. Vessels in the eyes of infants continue to develop until the time of birth. In premature babies, such development continues after birth since it is not completed yet. High concentrations of oxygen given to keep premature babies alive may cause the vessels in the eyes to develop abnormally. As a result, Retinopathy of Prematurity (shortly called ROP) develops in the retinas of infants whose vascularization is not complete. Unless treated at an early stage, this leads to blindness in both eyes. Therefore, premature babies should be examined by an ophthalmologist.
Which babies does retinopathy of prematurity affect most?
A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks or 280 days. If delivery takes place before week 37 is completed, the baby is considered to be premature. Infants born weighing less than 2,500 grams are termed “low birthweight” babies. Two-thirds of these infants are premature babies.
Retinopathy of prematurity is most common in those whose birthweight is less than 1,000 grams. Therefore, all infants born weighing less than 1,500 grams and earlier than week 32 should be examined for ROP. Early diagnosis and treatment of ROP in newborns is possible through the collaboration of pediatricians and pediatric ophthalmologists. Pulmonary and coronary disorders, severe infections and any brain-related problems occurring in infants also increase the risk of retinopathy. Treatment with early diagnosis is possible; delayed treatment results in blindness in both eyes.
If anesthesia is required, it is administered by anesthesiologists specialized in pediatric anesthesia. Anesthesia is given in sterile operating rooms, on operating tables designed to fit pediatric patients and using personal, single-use medical supplies. FDA (American Food and Drug Administration)-approved technologies and materials are used in the monitoring and treatment of pediatric eye diseases.