Eyes are precious. They are the light of our life. Being a delicate and very important part of our body they need special attention and care. Personal hygiene and regular checkups from childhood helps maintain healthy eyes. Parents need to make themselves aware of the common eye problems and the regular eye care is required. Many eye problems begin in childhood. Children may not be able to detect and tell the problem in time. Parents have to look out for symptoms and take action in time to prevent further damage.
Common Eye Problems
• Myopia or Near Sightedness- Myopia means difficulty in the vision of far away or distant object. Person with myopia can clearly see nearby object but the vision blurs for distant objects. This is a refractive error which can be corrected with lenses.
• Far Sightedness- In this case nearby objects appear blurred, whereas the vision of objects far away is clear. Near vision is poor. This is also a refractive error of the eye which is corrected by lenses.
• Astigmatism- This is also a type of refractive error. Due to imperfect curvature of the front surface of the eye, vision gets blurred. This too needs lenses for clear vision.
• Lazy Eye or Amblyopia- Lazy eye is mainly a childhood ailment. This is poor vision in one eye. This problem often remains undetected because the other eye with perfect vision does all the work, making everything appear normal. The healthy eye suppresses the image of the other eye, which gradually becomes weak, and hence called lazy eye. If the lazy eye is not treated on time, it may lead to permanent blindness of that eye. This problem should get treated during the early childhood days.
• Squint or Strabismus- Strabismus is again an eye defect which occurs in early childhood. Squint is misalignment of eyes. The eyes do not turn simultaneously in the same direction like in normal eyes. This occurs due to failure of the eye muscles to work together. Strabismus is treatable. Sometimes surgery is also required. If not treated it may lead to lazy eye problem.
Eye gets infected when they are attacked by some bacteria, virus or fungi. Some facts to remember about eye infections are :
• Infections usually occur due to unhygienic habits like rubbing with dirty hands, handkerchief, towel etc. and dusty, dirty surroundings which breed bacteria around.
• Infections need to be treated properly to prevent any spread and serious damage to the eye.
• Infections generally affect only one eye, whereas eye allergy effects both eyes.
• Symptoms of eye infection- Redness, inflammation, itch, pain in the eye, watering, discharge and light sensitivity of the eye.
• Eye infections (the most common being Conjunctivitis) are highly contagious.
• Infections can come from lenses too.
Spotting eye problems
Children are innocent. They cannot always detect a problem or even if they are uncomfortable with something they may not be able to express the problem correctly. It is therefore the duty of elders to watch out for symptoms of possible eye problems. If detected early most eye defects can be corrected
• Inability to notice objects at a distance
• Faulty reading
• Sitting too close to the TV
• Bringing the book too close to read properly
• Feeling of tiredness after reading
• Involuntary to and fro movements of the eye
• Complains of headache
• Tilts his head to view something
• Suddenly starts avoiding computer
• Sensitive to light
• Eye constantly watering
• Redness of eye
• Too much rubbing of eyes
• Poor focusing
• Poor visual tracking (following an object)
• A white pupil instead of black
Sometimes there are no directly visible symptoms, but you may notice that the child is making lots of mistakes in her class notebook. In such a situation parents should talk to the teacher and find out if the child is having some difficulty in reading from the blackboard. Even if there are no signs of any problem, it is better to get the eyes checked annually to catch any problem well in time. Regular check up is absolutely necessary for those who have family history of some eye problem.