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How to protect eye sight in children?

#WSD2018 #WORLDSIGHTDAY
What is the most important part of our body? There is no exact answer to that. All organs have their own importance. The eye is also an important part of our body. let's talk about how to keep our eyes healthy.
Only when the eyes are clean and beautiful, they can see the beautiful world. If you take care of it, it will help you in your daily life.

Children's eye as an intensive topic:

Many people think that eyes become weak at old age, it is a disease of elderly people. But, that's not the case. Child-eye health is equally important and sensitive like as in elder and aging people.
Body science also shows that children's eye disease is a distinct and intensive topic. It helps in examination, treatment and makes counseling about different types of eye diseases.
About 1.5 million children are blind in the world, of which about two-thirds live in Asia and African countries.
The leading cause of blindness in the world is Cataract, Glaucoma, Corneal diseases, and Retinal Problems.  However, if we measure child blindness for the time a child has to live blind for his whole life, Child blindness is the second most extreme blinding condition after cataract.

Children cannot tell about their problems:

The World Health Organization has put the childhood blindness in the list of its major priorities.

About two-thirds of the child blindness in other developing countries like Nepal are not detected or treated on time. It can be treated or cured.

Children's problems are very different from the problems seen in the adult. Examinations and treatment methods are also different.

Small children cannot say anything about their problems, such as Pain, Blurred vision, and other symptoms of their eyes. If we cannot find out the problems and treat them in time, children will have lazy eyes. Treatment of such lazy eye is impossible if treatment is started too late.

These are the main problems found in children:

Refractive Error, Amblyopia (Lazy Eye), Squint, Congenital Cataract, Glaucoma, Ocular Trauma, Infection (Conjunctivitis), Allergy related problems and Night Blindness.

Along with them, other Retinal diseases such as Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), Retinitis Pigmentosa(RP), Retinal Dystrophy etc. are also dangerous eye diseases.

These are the Symptoms:

1. White on the black part of eyes(Opacity in the cornea)
2. Tilted head while viewing or reading something.
3. Deviated eyes
4. Watering, Frequently blinking of eye and Redness
6. Watching the television closely.

What to do?

If a child has such symptoms, immediately take him/her to see an eye doctor. Additionally, the eyes of all children should be checked once in a period of 45 days to 2 months after birth, once in 6 months afterward, and at the time of school admission.

Eye checks must be done every year until the next 8-10 years. Baby born with less weight and premature born babies should be checked between the 1st month of birth to the 6th weeks.

Refractive Error: A major vision problem !

This problem is extremely seen in children. There are different types of refractive errors:
  • Myopia
  • Hypermetropia
  • Astigmatism
This problem appears when the rays of light cannot touch retina properly. Myopia is found in most of the schooling children. Generally, it is also known as 'Physiological Myopia'.

These are the signs of Refractive error in children:

In schooling children, Not being able to see distant objects clearly (Especially in the classroom), Watching  television from too near, deviated eyes, Tilted head, and Recurrent multiple Stye (Lid Infection followed by painful mass)
In case of these symptoms, Child should be taken to the nearest eye hospital. Another important fact is that some children do not have any symptoms at all, parents should be aware of the regular vision checkup of their children.

Questions that many people ask:

Many people have wrong knowledge and opinions about the refractive error. Questions I hear and experience on daily basis are as follows:

1. Can eyes go weak at this small age?
2. Using glasses at this early age? 
3. Oh! How will my baby put on glasses?
4. If my child uses glasses, won't his eye become further damaged? Won't the power of glass increase?
5. Can't he use this glasses after being more adult?

People need to remove such misconceptions. Increase in power of glasses is seen in most of the cases. But what should be considered more is on the fact of the increase in the amount of vision seen after using glasses? This is the most important thing to be seen.

Eye gets lazy if refractive error is not treated on time. If glasses cannot reverse the vision damage caused by refractive error, the condition is called Lazy Eye(Amblyopia). If the eye is lazy, prompt treatment in time is necessary.
Detecting all these diseases in time helps in treatment. However, after delaying treatment, the possibility of vision restoration is low, even after treatment.

The ways to identify this disease can be done first by knowing common symptoms of the disease. The second way is to have regular eye check-up of the children at regular intervals of time.

(Dr. Srijana Adhikari, Paediatric Ophthalmologists - Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology)

Note: Article was published on 4th June 2018 in Online Khabar news portal in the Nepali language)