Eye Problems in Children
A complete list of the most common eye problems affecting children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
• Amblyopia (lazy eye) – “Lazy eye” refers to reduced vision from lack of use in an otherwise normal eye. It usually occurs only in one eye. Any condition that prevents a clear image can interfere with the development of vision and result in amblyopia. The condition affects about 2 percent of children. Because early treatment offers the best results, your pediatrician will refer you to an ophthalmologist.
• Astigmatism – Astigmatism is the result of an eye that has an irregular corneal shape. It may result in blurred vision. Children with astigmatism may need glasses if the amount of astigmatism is large.
• Blepharitis (swollen eyelids) – This inflammation in the oily glands of the eyelid usually results in swollen eyelids and excessive crusting of the eyelashes, most evident in the morning. Tenderness of the eyelids and sensation of a foreign-body in the eye may occur as well. Blepharitis can be treated with warm compresses and eyelid scrubs using baby shampoo. If an infection is present, antibiotics may be necessary.
• Conjunctivitis (pinkeye) – Pinkeye appears as a reddening of the white part of the eye. It is associated with excessive tearing, discharge and the sensation of a foreign body sensation in the eye. In infants and young children, it is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. In older children, it may also be caused by an allergy. Depending on the cause, eye drops or ointment may be prescribed. Regular hand washing will help prevent the spread of the infection to other family members.