What are the symptoms of eye disease?
Most people have had a problem with the eyes at one time or the other. Most eye problems are mild and will often go away on their own or with simple treatment. However, some eye problems may be serious and require attention by the specialist eye doctor. You will need to need to take your child to the doctor if he/she develops eye problems. This will help identify serious problems and most appropriate treatment will be given if needed. Here are some of the symptoms of eye or eyelid disease:
- Red Eyes
- Night blindness
- Eye pain
- Problems with movement or alignment of the eyes;
- Altered vision like blurring, double vision, haloes
- Reduced ability to see objects that are at a distance or nearby.
- Eyes becoming sensitive to light
- Feeling of dryness or foreign body sensation in the eyes.
- Tiny specks that float across your field of vision.
- Excessive tearing.
What are the common eye and eyelid conditions in childhood?
Excessive Tearing.This happens when tear ducts are blocked either partially or completely. It can affect one or both eyes. It is a common problem in newborns and usually gets better without treatment. A baby may be born with blocked tear ducts or the blockage can develop later in life due to infections,injuries or growths.
Crossed eyes or Strabismus. This causes the eyes to not properly align with each other when looking at an object. Sometimes the eye that is focussing on an object may change or alternate. This condition usually does not recover automatically and will become permanent if left untreated.
Lazy Eye or amblyopia. This occurs when there is loss of vision in an eye that otherwise appears normal. It can result from crossed eyes that is left untreated.
Drooping of the upper eyelid or ptosis. The eyelids can droop just a little or low enough to limit or block vision. A child may tilt the head backward, or raise their eyebrows to see better.A child can be born with this condition or develop it later. If it is not treated it may lead to loss of vision in the affected eye.
Conjunctivitis also called the “pink eye”. This affects the outermost outermost layer of the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. It may cause redness, swelling and a feeling of itchiness,burning or pain in the eyes. The eyes may become more watery. You may observe a sticky, yellow or greenish-yellow eye discharge that ‘glues’ the eyelids together in the morning. The eyes may also become sensitive to light. This condition may be caused by bacterial or viral infection. Allergies or irritants that get into the eye also commonly cause this problem. Get your child’s eyes checked by the doctor is you noticed these problems.
Cataracts. This can develop when a protein accumulates in the lens of the eye and makes it cloudy. They usually develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. Colours may appear faded colors, the vision may be blurred, light might appear to have halos round it, or one might have trouble seeing at night. It mainly develops with aging but some children might be born with it, a condition called congenital cataract. Some children with congenital cataract can develop profound problems with vision.
Nystagmus or “dancing eyes”. Here there are involuntary, often very rapid and repetitive movements of the eyes. This may result in reduced or limited vision. A child may be born with it or develop it later. Sometimes the cause is not found but may be associated with other conditions affecting the brain and with some medications.
Difficulty in seeing far or nearsightedness. Distant objects appear blurry, close objects appear normal. A child may also complain of headache or eye strain.
Difficulty in seeing close or farsightedness. Close objects appear blurry, while far objects may appear normal. As the problem progresses objects may appear blurry at all distances.
In astigmatism images or objects appear distorted or blurred vision at all distances. Other symptoms can include eyestrain, headaches, and trouble seeing at night;
When the eyelids are inflammed one may feel a foreign body or burning sensation, excessive tearing, itching, sensitivity to light, red and swollen eyelids, redness of the eye, blurred vision, frothy tears, dry eye, or crusting of the eyelashes on awakening. This is blepharitis. You will need to visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
A small, red, painful lump may grow under the eyelid. This is called a stye or hordeolum. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection at the root of the eyelash or in an oil producing gland in the eyelid. The eyes may feel sore and scratchy when one has a stye.
A bump may grow further back into the eyelid due to clogged oil glands. This is called a chalazion. It’s usually not painful but if it gets large there may be discomfort and pressure in the eye . It might even cause blurry vision.
Sometimes the eyelids can twitch abnormally. They may feel like they are clamping shut and will require more effort to part them. This is called blepharospasm. The twitching of eyelids may last for a few days then disappear without treatment, but in some cases, it may become prolonged and persistent causing problems with vision.
What causes eye problems?
Different eye problems may have different causes.
Some problems are inherited,which means the child is born with it. Examples include congenital cataracts and strabismus.
Some are due to altered length of the eyeball like near or far sightedness.
Other may be due to injury to the nerves or muscles that control movement of the eyes or eyelids.
Infection are a common cause of problems like blepharitis,stye and conjunctivitis.
Allergies and irritants.
Problems with blood vessels that supply the eye can lead to serious eye conditions.
Many common eye problems will be diagnosed from the answers you give to questions the doctor asks about the problem and what he observes during physical examination. Additional special tests may be done to help the eye doctor find out the cause and severity of the problem. Your doctor will inform you which of the tests will be necessary.
Treatment will depend on the specific problem that has been diagnosed. May common problems resolve on their own without treatment. Some will require simple measures including eye hygiene and use of different types of eyedrops. Some conditions will require prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. An eye patch may help correct some disorders. Surgery to the eyes may be done to correct some problems. Your eye doctor will take you through the treatment options for the specific problem your child is found to have.