“80% of children’s learning is through their eyes. Visual capacity develops from birth until the age of 5 or 6, when maximum vision is reached. Any abnormality that occurs in this process can cause several eye conditions. In our country, the main cause of disability is difficulty seeing, which shows the need to learn to take care of visual health from the first years of life to avoid irreversible consequences in adulthood”, says Dr. Jaqueline Mendoza, ophthalmologist pediatrician at our clinic.
From what age should a child go to the ophthalmologist?
The first complete ophthalmologic evaluation should be performed at 3 years of age. Newborns are screened to rule out malformations and diseases that require prompt surgery, such as cataracts or glaucoma.
In which cases should the visit to the ophthalmologist be brought forward?
- When the baby does not recognize objects or does not follow the face of their parents.
- When the child has an ocular deviation.
- When the child gets too close to objects or blinks continuously.
- When the child presents a delay in his or her development and learning.
The first complete evaluation basically includes 3 controls:
- The anatomical development of the eyeball. To rule out external and internal pathologies. The child is observed with the slit lamp and a dilated fundus examination is performed.
- Visual acuity according to age. The ability to follow objects with the eye, differentiate figures and contrasts is analyzed. This is when the first measurement of the child’s vision is performed, which must be with pupillary dilation.
- Eye alignment. To rule out any type of deviation with and without pupil dilation.
What are the most common eye problems in children?
- Ametropia or refractive errors, which requires the use of lenses.
- Amblyopia or lazy eye, due to lack of use of corrective lenses.
- Strabismus or ocular deviations.
- Eye allergies, which cause itching and continuous rubbing of the eyes.
- Obstruction of the tear duct, which generates continuous tearing from the first month of life.
- Visual fatigue or asthenopia, caused by long periods of exposure to screens and electronic devices that can also cause red eyes, tearing and dry eyes.
Dr. Jaqueline Mendoza
Ophthalmologist Pediatrician at Clínica Ricardo Palma