There are three “eye conditions” which can develop in childhood. Fortunately most childhood eye conditions are easily treated especially if diagnosed at an early age. This is because children’s eyes and brain are quite adaptable and malleable.
1. Blocked Tear Ducts
What causes blocked tear ducts? Well tears normally flow from whats called the lacrimal gland on the upper eyelid, which flows onto the eyes and then into a duct in the inner corner of the eyelids. If this duct is blocked or can’t open as well as it should, tears build up and this overflows onto the eyes and cheek.
Most tear ducts spontaneously clear up before kids turn 1 years old. Daily tear duct massages can normally help clear up the problem in most cases. At times a tube or stent can be implanted to prevent the problem from returning if this continues to be a problem as the child gets older.
2. Lazy Eye
What refers to a lazy eye is generally just a weaker eye. The technical term is amblyopia, and there are a few possible causes:
- Strabismus (eye turn) – this happens when an image to the brain from one eye is turned off to avoid double vision. Over time, the turned eye can lose its ability to see fine detail
- Significant refractive error (blur) – These vision correction problems can make the brain favour the clearer view.
- Blurry Images – A hazy lens, or opacity in the line of sight can make this happen
This depends on the cause of the lazy eye as above. Patching and dilating drops can help strengthen the weaker eye. Wearing spectacles, making sure the eyes line up, or to remove an opacity in the line of sight are all treatment options.
Amblyopia is an easily preventable condition as long as the condition is picked up as early as possible. The younger they are the faster the vision will recover, however optometrists can help older children as well.
A clouding of the lens inside either one or both eyes. They develop due to
- Genetics – 1/3 of childhood cataracts are genetically inherited from a parent
- Eye Injury – any trauma or inflammation can cause this during an early age
This condition will generally be seen quite easily and will show in photographs quite clearly. Instead of the “red eye” appearance, you will get a “white eye” type appearance.
The lens needs to be surgically removed and an artificial intraocular lens will be implanted. Cataracts are rare, but easily treatable.