Paediatric Ophthalmology is a relatively newer branch of Ophthalmology, which focuses on children’s eyes till the age of 16 years, the age till which eyes of a human being develop. It requires specialised education and equipment to correctly assess the visual needs of a child.
SCEH has a highly qualified specialised team to treat children for their various eye related problem. The team is well equipped with set of equipment to manage simple as well as complicated cases of eye problems in children. Whether it is cases related to refractive errors or strabismus (commonly known as squint), amblyopia (lazy eye syndrome) or astigmatism (abnormal curvature of the cornea), the team diagnosis and treats such eyes with utmost care. The treatment protocol varies from eye to eye. Some require surgical intervention while others may need rehabilitation.
The hospital has a very experienced and competent team, supported with state-of-the-art operation theatres and equipment to treat new-born children as well as adolescents, to address diverse cases requiring paediatric ophthalmologic intervention.
SCEH has, to its credit, nearly 232,00 children whose vision has been corrected well before it could reach a stage of no return. The number of treatments are manifold.
In the case of children, it is very necessary for early detection and intervention. There is no lower age limit for bringing a baby to a paediatric ophthalmologist. As they say, ‘catch-them-young’, an early detection can prevent development of simple cases to extreme ones, leading to irreversible blindness.
It is generally recommended that on birth, the concerned Paediatrician examines the eyes of the baby under normal torchlight and refers to a Paediatric Ophthalmologist in case of any aberration. A routine examination is an opportunity for paediatrician to pick up conditions which otherwise remain unattended, thereby adversely affecting the vision.
Some of the symptoms that parents should look for and refer to a paediatric ophthalmologist, in case of a doubt of vision related challenges that their child might be facing.
Regularly complains of headache or watery eyes
Blinks or squints excessively
Rubs eyes vigorously during or after short periods of reading
Makes frequent written mistakes even while copying
Repeatedly bumps into or drops things
Suffers from nausea, dizziness, motion sickness or double vision
Internationally, a child’s comprehensive vision examination has to include the testing of a number of visual skills, namely:
Convergence and eye teaming skills
Eye tracking and fixation skills
Visual form discrimination
Visual Motor Integration.
The examination should also test for the ability to transform images from a vertical to a horizontal plane (i.e. from the blackboard to the desk surface) and for the conditions of Hypermetropia and reversal frequency.
Strabismus or squint is a deviation of the eyes. Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes point in different directions. Children do not outgrow strabismus! To know more about Strabismus, go to www.allaboutvision.com.
Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) is vision loss as a result of damage to the retro-geniculate pathway of the visual system in the absence of any ocular pathology. The aetiology of CVI is varied and can be divided into prenatal, perinatal and acquired causes. To know more about CVI, you can go to www.allaboutvision.com.
Rehabilitation is one of the ways to address CVI in children. Facilities currently available for rehabilitation are the Early Intervention & Visual Rehabilitation Centre (thrice a week), Vision Enhancement Centre for educational guidance to children more than 6 years of age.
The Vision Rehabilitation Centre has a team of developmental therapist, optometrist, occupational therapists. The functional and brain assessment functions are done by the ophthalmologist, optometrist, and developmental therapist together developing a strategy for treatment. 185 children have been attending the clinic and have been successfully rehabilitated.
Paediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus(squint) Specialists at SCEH