Home Health Children can develop eye diseases after birth – Ophthalmologist

Children can develop eye diseases after birth – Ophthalmologist


Abuja   – Dr Sewuese Bitto, a Consultant Ophthalmologist, Garki Hospital, Abuja, on Monday advised parents to start observing their children for possible eye diseases immediately after birth.
Bitto gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
She said that some eye diseases started to manifest in children as soon as they were born, adding that if not treated or managed immediately the child could lose his or her sight partially or totally.
She said that the first six years of a child’s visual development was crucial in ensuring full maturation of the visual system hence the need to observe any unusual behaviour or eye movement in the child.
“During the breastfeeding period, mothers need to observe to see if the infant can look at her face while breastfeeding. A baby is supposed to be able to look at the mum and maintain a steady gaze.
“If the child cannot maintain a steady or central gaze then there might just be Nystagmus – that is involuntary fast or slow ocular movements or deviation either on one or both eyes which are indicative of a visual problem.
“A mother who is observant can pick this normally because this could be the beginning of a problem,” Bitto said.
She said that from infancy children could begin to exhibit characteristics which showed that they were experiencing difficulty with their vision.
According to her, children between ages one to five bring visual objects like books and television too close to them while others may experience poor academic performance.
“All this may be because of vision problems and some teachers are very observant because some of our patients come because of one observation or the other a teacher drew their attention to,” she said.
The consultant ophthalmologist said that the most common eye diseases usually found in children were uncorrected refractive error and allergic conjunctivitis.
She said others were crossed eyes, congenital cataract, congenital glaucoma, allergic conjunctivitis or Vernal Kerato Conjunctivitis and Amblyopia, among others.
Bitto noted that congenital cataract and congenital glaucoma most often manifested after the birth of a child hence management of the condition needed to begin immediately to prevent irreversible damage to the eye.
“Amblyopia is used to categorize the eye when it had gotten to a lazy state. Lazy eyes are eyes which for some reason there was poor vision at a certain point and the problem was not corrected immediately.
“It gets to the point where the entire visual system has matured and the problem can no longer be corrected.
“The child’s vision cannot get better so he or she must have to grow with the little vision left except in instances where vision can improve magically with certain therapy,’’ Bitto added.
She urged parents whose children experienced recurrent reddish eyes or whitish speck in the black part of the eye to seek medical assistance.
She said that children who often objected occlusion of a particular eye might be experiencing poor vision in the other eye hence medical assistance should be sought. (NAN)

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