Every year many children go blind due to the lack of eye health facility and carelessness of the parents in Nepal. In a country like Nepal, lots of children are blind because of unreachable eye health care and a lack of public health awareness.
Healthy eyes and perfect vision are one of the most important parts of child development. Their eyes should be examined regularly by a qualified optometrist or a pediatric Ophthalmologist if needed. Many vision-related problems and eye diseases could be treated if detected early. Lots of children can’t perform well in school, sports, and extracurricular activities due to their poor vision. So routine checkup of your child’s vision and correction may upgrade your children’s activities.
Routine for an Eye exam
- The newborn should be checked for general eye health.
- High-risk newborns including premature infants, mothers with S.T.D, Family history of eye problems, should be examined as soon as possible after the birth.
- On the first birthday of the child, they should be routinely checked.
- After the age of 3 years, every child should have their visual acuity test done (ability to differentiate the distance between two points).
- Kids who wear corrective lenses should have an annual eye checkup.
Spotting Eye problems in children
- Frequent eye rubbing.
- Poor focusing.
- Chronic redness.
- Whitish or any type of discharge.
- Sensitive to normal room light.
- Abnormal movement of the eyeball.
- Rapid blinking.
- Difficulty reading.
- Sitting too close to the TV.
Note: If your child has any of the above-mentioned problems, please consult your nearest Eye centre/ Eye hospital as soon as possible.
Some leading causes of childhood blindness
In 1997, it was estimated that 45% of blind children were blind from avoidable causes. Some of the leading causes are as below, but it does vary from country to country.
- Corneal scarring (mainly from Vitamin A deficiency and measles)
- Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
- Refractive error (Mostly Myopia)
- Low vision
- Congenital glaucoma etc.
So, It’s better to check the eyes of every child, to prevent blindness, eye diseases and vision problems.
About the author: Prabhat G.C is an Optometrist at Butwal, Nepal.