It’s that time of the year again. Parents and children are preparing for the annual back-to-school ritual. While shopping for new clothes and school supplies are all a part of the traditional preparation routine, parents should also consider adding something new to the back-to-school schedule – a quick check for any eye problems or symptoms of potential problems. Some things parents should look for include: Excessive Tearing This is often a sign of blocked tear ducts in children but other potential problems could be light sensitivity, allergy, a scratched eye or something in the eye. Eye rubbing Many times this is a telltale sign of an allergy or habit. Parents need to monitor eye rubbing as it can lead to damage the cornea, if not addressed. Discharge This is usually a telltale sign of infection. If a discharge is evident a trip to your family doctor or eye care professional is encouraged.
Pinkeye One of the most common eye maladies associated with children and school. Pinkeye describes the white of the eye being a shade of red due to inflammation and irritation of the conjunctival tissue overlying the white of the eye and the back of the eyelids. There are multiple causes for this, which include infection. In school-age children, it is not uncommon for a virus to be the cause. This is the pinkeye that can be very contagious when caused by adenovirus. While contagious, children with adenovirus should be removed from school. Contact with them should be minimal, particularly by anyone who has compromised immune system. In preschool children, infection causing pinkeye is usually bacterial and responds well to the appropriate antibiotic. Viral infection does not respond to antibiotics. Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually limited to several days, while adenovirus can last two weeks or more.Squinting The most common cause for squinting is an uncorrected nearsightedness requiring glasses. Other children squint because light may be causing discomfort in an inflamed eye. Parents should check to see that both eyes are equally wide open.
Eye misalignment (Lazy Eye) Eye misalignment or lazy eye can be obvious or slightly difficult to detect. Your child may have limitations in eye movement and may adopt a head position to compensate for the misalignment.
Squinting might also be a side effect. Expect your child to have well-aligned eyes that move together over the full range of motion after 2 to 3 months of age. Droopy eyelid Known as ptosis, this usually occurs on a congenital basis and can be potentially severe. Causes include a weak muscle in the eyelid or sometimes a tumor in the affected eyelid. A droopy eyelid can be associated with poor vision and a visit
with an eye care professional is highly recommended. Possible treatments include glasses for nearsightedness and astigmatism, patching of the sound eye and surgical correction.