Pediatric Eye Care

Most parents start to worry any time their child is showing physical symptoms of illness. After all, we want our children to be as healthy as possible so they can live their lives to the fullest. The tricky part is that children can’t always verbally express when they don’t feel well or when there might be a health concern – especially when it comes to eyesight.

As parents, its important to take time from your hectic schedules of work, school, childcare and activities to monitor your child’s eye health. Our team of pediatric ophthalmologists at Azul Vision are trained to help children achieve their best vision for success in life. We’d be honored to care for your child, too.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of early eye problems in children include:

  • Sitting very close to the TV or holding books close to their eyes
  • Frequent headaches
  • Rubbing their eyes often
  • Squinting
  • Sensitivity to bright lights

Watch for warning signs that your child might have vision problems. Poor vision can lead to poor grades or social withdrawal. It is crucial to take these symptoms seriously and seek professional evaluation to ensure your child’s eye health and overall well-being. Early detection and intervention can make a significant difference!

Learn more about pediatric eye care in the video below:

Causes & Risk Factors:

The exact cause of pediatric eye problems is not fully understood, but several factors can increase the risk of developing these conditions. These causes and risk factors include:

  • Genetics: A family history of eye problems increases the likelihood that a child will develop similar issues.
  • Prolonged close-up work: Spending extended periods reading, writing, or using digital devices can strain young eyes.
  • Limited outdoor time: Children who spend less time outdoors may have a higher risk of developing certain eye conditions.
  • Premature birth: Premature infants are at a higher risk for various eye problems, including retinopathy of prematurity.
  • Medical conditions: Conditions such as diabetes can affect eye health and increase the risk of developing vision problems.

Understanding these causes and risk factors can help in taking preventive measures and seeking timely intervention for optimal pediatric eye health.

Testing & Diagnosis:

It’s possible that your child won’t display any outward symptoms that something is wrong with their vision. That’s why it’s so important to schedule regular vision screenings or eye exams. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that vision screenings be done by a pediatrician or family doctor on this schedule:

  • Newborn: check for the presence of a red reflex when light is shown into the eyes (to diagnose congenital cataracts), check blink and pupil response
  • 6-12 months: check eye alignment, eye movement and other tests
  • 12-36 months: look for healthy eye development
  • 3-5 years: check for visual acuity, eye alignment and other vision problems
  • 5 years and up: check for visual acuity, eye alignment and other vision problems

School-aged children should have an eye exam every 2 years or participate in school vision screenings at minimum. Eye exams by an ophthalmologist will be especially important if your family has any history of eye disease.

Treatment Options

If your child displays any of the above symptoms, contact our pediatric ophthalmologists at Azul Vision to arrange a pediatric eye exam. In addition to diagnosing refractive error problems (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism), we can also diagnose and treat amblyopia, strabismus, and congenital cataracts.

Refractive Error Problems
  • Corrective Glasses:
    • Nearsightedness (Myopia): Prescription glasses with concave lenses to help focus light correctly on the retina.
    • Farsightedness (Hyperopia): Prescription glasses with convex lenses to correct focus issues.
    • Astigmatism: Specially designed lenses to address the irregular shape of the cornea or lens.
  • Contact Lenses: Available in different designs to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, including toric lenses for astigmatism. Suitable for older children who can handle them responsibly.
  • Atropine Drops: Low-dose atropine drops can be prescribed to slow the progression of myopia.
  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): Special contact lenses worn overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea, mainly used for myopia control but can also help with other refractive errors.
  • Vision Therapy: A structured program of visual activities to improve eye coordination, focusing skills, and visual perception, beneficial for all types of refractive errors.
  • Multifocal Glasses or Contact Lenses: May be prescribed for children with significant refractive errors to aid in focusing at different distances.
  • Regular Eye Exams: Continuous monitoring to adjust prescriptions as needed and ensure optimal visual development. Regular check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of any changes in vision.

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
  • Corrective Glasses: Prescription glasses can correct refractive errors.
  • Patching: Covering the stronger eye to stimulate the weaker one.
  • Atropine Drops: Blurring the vision in the stronger eye to encourage use of the weaker eye.
  • Vision Therapy: Exercises and activities to improve visual skills.


Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
  • Glasses: Corrective lenses to improve alignment.
  • Prism Lenses: Special lenses that alter the light entering the eye to reduce the appearance of strabismus.
  • Eye Patching: Covering one eye to strengthen the other.
  • Surgery: Realigning the eye muscles for proper eye alignment.
  • Botulinum Toxin (Botox): Temporary alignment of the eyes through muscle relaxation.

Congenital Cataracts
  • Surgery: Removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial lens.
  • Contact Lenses: Used after surgery if an artificial lens is not implanted.
  • Glasses: Corrective lenses post-surgery to improve vision.
  • Patching: To treat amblyopia that may develop post-surgery.
  • Regular Follow-ups: Monitoring eye health and development regularly.

Schedule an Eye Exam!