Various Eye Problems An Eye Exam Can Reveal
There are several possible conditions we look for when we examine a child’s eyes. The following are a few such conditions a comprehensive visual exam can identify, and which call for prompt, early treatment to minimize visual impairment,
Common Refractive Problems. The parts of the eye work together to transmit received light as a focused image in the brain. When they don’t, a person experiences out-of-focus vision, blurring of objects at a distance (nearsightedness), up close (farsightedness), or as a result of distortions in the lens or cornea (astigmatism).
Strabismus. Children with this condition are unable to align both eyes at the same time as they look at a single point. The misalignment is often called wandering eye or “cross eyes” because of their appearance.
Amblyopia. Also known as “lazy eye,” Amblyopia causes one of a child’s eyes to have poorer vision than the other. As their visual function matures, the brain may begin to “ignore” the vision from the faulty eye.
Ptosis. This occurs when the upper eyelid droops down abnormally over the eye. While in some cases the droop may be slight, it’s possible for the lid to completely cover the eye pupil and interfere with vision.
Tear duct obstruction. For any number of reasons when a tear duct becomes blocked, tears can’t drain properly through the nasal passages. The obstruction can cause excessive tearing as the fluid overflows instead out of the eye.
Blepharitis. In this common condition, an eyelid can become reddened, swollen (inflamed) and itchy and lead to dry eye. Causes for Blepharitis include bacterial buildup, blockage of the eyelid’s oil glands or allergies.
Ocular allergies. Allergies occur when a person’s immune system overreacts to a foreign substance. In the eye, this can cause irritation of the conjunctiva, a mucous membrane on the front of the eyes and the inside of the eyelids.
Why Vision Exams Before Age One?
Good vision includes more than an ability to see clearly. Your child may be able to see “20/20,” yet still have issues with normal eye movement or a lack of coordination in focusing that could affect depth perception. A comprehensive vision examination will check for acuity (ability to see clearly), binocularity (both eyes working together to perceive depth), eye movement and focusing ability, and overall eye health.
By beginning with an initial exam in their first year and then at regular intervals from then on, we can track their vision development, diagnose problems as they arise and initiate treatment. As in many other aspects of health, the earlier we can recognize a problem and begin treating it, the better the chances of a successful outcome.