Children can be afflicted by many eye diseases. They may be born with or may develop cataracts, glaucoma, retinal and orbital tumors, or other problems. More commonly, children may need glasses to see more clearly or intervention for misaligned eyes (strabismus) or poor visual development in one eye (amblyopia). The management of eye problems in children requires special knowledge and skills. Even before a child can speak, pediatric ophthalmologists can tell what a child sees, if he or she needs eyeglasses or contact lenses, and if any problems exist with the eyes. Children are not miniature adults, and their eye problems
require diagnostic and treatment methods that are usually different from those used in the older age group. Fortunately, most eye problems can be treated without surgery, but about 1,000 children per year undergo surgical correction of their eye problems at Bangladesh Eye Hospital, Chattogram.
Pediatric ophthalmologists on the Bangladesh Eye Hospital, Chattogram staff engage in educational and research activities in addition to the clinical and surgical care of their child patients. Most of the patients are from the Delaware Valley, but many come from other states and all parts of the world.
Dr. Utpal Sen
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Strabismus is a misalignment of the eyes. Most of us are fortunate because our eyes started to work as a team very early in infancy and have continued to work together ever since. We are able to focus each eye on whatever we look at, regardless of the direction, and our brain combines the picture or image from each eye into the mental picture that allows us to see in three dimensions. However, for about two percent of every 100 children, both eyes are not directed or focused at the same object, and the eyes do not work as a team.
Exotropia is the second most common kind of strabismus. In this condition, one or both eyes turn out away from the nose. It usually starts at age two or three. In the beginning, the eye may drift out only for a few seconds when the child is tired or ill. It typically occurs when the child looks far away. Closing one eye in bright sunlight when playing outside is also a common early sign.
The most common type of strabismus is esotropia, which occurs when either one or both eyes turn in toward the nose. Some children are born with this condition. Alternatively, it can start at about age two and a half. When esotropia occurs in these older children, eyeglasses can often help to treat the condition by correcting the child’s vision for farsightedness or hyperopia. This can reduce or eliminate the crossing by changing the child’s need for excessive focusing.
A cataract is a cloudiness in the lens of the eye, which sits behind the pupil. If the lens is cloudy it can block vision and cause blindness. Surgery can restore vision. Cataract occurs in one of every 4000-10,000 children.