Below are some of the most common problems that affect children’s eyes. If you think your child may have an eye problem, contact us at 910.763.3601 for a full evaluation with our pediatric ophthalmologist, Dr. Shipley, MD, FAAP. Early detection and treatment in children can help prevent lifelong vision loss.
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood. Although it is preventable, it can only be corrected if it is treated during childhood. If not treated early, amblyopia can lead to permanent vision loss in adulthood. Children with a family history of lazy eye should be checked as early as possible.
The main causes of lazy eye are: strabismus (eye misalignment), unequal focus (need for glasses), or cloudiness in eye tissues that are normally clear (such as cataract). To correct lazy eye, the child must be forced to use the poor-seeing eye. Treatment typically involves patching or placing drops in the good eye.
Blocked Tear Duct
A blocked tear duct in an infant can cause excessive tearing and mucus buildup on the eyelids and eyelashes. This occurs when a thin tissue in the nose does not open before birth, blocking the drainage of tears from the eyes into the back of the nose and throat. Many cases resolve within 6-12 months after birth. If unresolved, it can be treated with a brief outpatient surgical procedure. During this surgery, a thin, blunt metal probe is passed through the tear drainage system to open the obstruction. Following the procedure, infants and children do not experience pain, however blood-tinged tears or nasal secretions are common.
A drooping eyelid, or ptosis, in children may be present at birth, or it may develop during childhood. It can become worse as the child grows and potentially cause a lazy eye, so it needs to be closely monitored by an ophthalmologist to ensure that normal vision is developing in the eye. If the droopy eyelid is causing loss of vision, an outpatient surgical procedure can be performed to raise the eyelid height.
A stye is a small, red area of swelling on the eyelid that may or may not be painful to touch. Many children get one or more styes during their childhood. Generally, home therapy is tried first. If it does not get better, a procedure can be performed to open up the stye so that it drains and resolves.
A white pupil, or a difference between the pupils in the eyes, needs to be evaluated as soon as possible. There are many causes for a white pupil. One of the more common causes is a cataract in children. If not treated properly, a cataract in one eye can cause blindness and a severe lazy eye.
Congenital Ocular Disorders
Congenital ocular disorders are vision problems present at birth. Our Specialists are proud to offer early treatment for congenital ocular disorders for children. Through these early treatments, we can ensure that children are given the best chance of having the healthiest possible vision.