by Dr. Amila De Alwis
A child’s eyes are their most precious connection to the outside world. Their social interaction, academic performance, engagement in physical activities and their overall development and outlook depend much, on how their eyes see. Children’s eyes are very different to those of adults. Firstly, it is in the first decade of life that our vision develops and clear vision entering the eye is needed for our eyes to reach their maximum visual potential.
Many children who have been categorized as under performers, have surprised everyone by vastly improving their academic and physical performance overnight by just optimizing their vision with a simple pair of glasses.
As opposed to 20-30 years ago, with the advent of computers, phones, laptops and tablets, coupled with increase academic demand in the present day, the focus of most children’s vision has shifted from distance to near. This has resulted in a higher prevalence of ocular symptoms such as eye strain, blurring of vision, tearing and headaches, which in turn has resulted in more children requiring glasses.
Certain eye conditions are very common in children, affecting up to 30% of children. But children are often too young to express/understand that they have low vision, in one or both eyes. When they are old enough to realize that their vision is low, it’s often too late to correct the defect and life long reduced vision will persist.
This is why early and regular checking of children’s eyes and vision is compulsory.
EYE EXAMS IN CHILDREN FREQUENCY AND TIMINGS
(As according to the Amercian Association of Pediatrics and the American Association of Ophthalmology)
1.Newborns should be checked for general eye health and any gross abnormality
High-risk newborns (including premature infants), those with a family history of eye problems, and those with obvious eye irregularities should be examined by an eye doctor.
2.In the first year of life, all infants should be routinely screened at least once
3.Around age 3½, kids should undergo eye health screenings and visual acuity tests
4.Around age 5, kids should have their vision and eye alignment evaluated
5.After age 5, further routine screenings should be done at least every other year at school or the doctor’s office, or after the appearance of symptoms such as squinting or frequent headaches.
CHILD EYE, children’s eye clinic is Sri Lanka’s first institution dedicated solely to detecting and treating eye diseases in children, while also functioning to actively increase awareness of children’s eye conditions and the importance of regular eye checks in our little ones.
CHILD EYE will also provide a child friendly environment to perform in-house screening, examinations and consultations. A pharmacy and optical shop will make this a one stop eye visit for your child. The staff, specially trained in the handling of children’s eye problems, will ensure a pleasant, complete and efficient visit. The staff will also take place in training other personnel involved in vision checking in children.
In addition to being Sri Lanka’s first specialized children’s eye care institution, the clinic will function in way to accommodate all children, irrespective of the financial background of the child’s family, thanks to a unique patient seeing criteria. A number of children will be seen free daily, while other patients can get an eye exam at a subsidized rate and the last category will be a consultation, like in any private hospital, thereby opening the clinic to every single Sri Lankan.
For more information on CHILD EYE and their services, please call 0112888835 or visit www.childeye.lk or https://www.facebook.com/childeye.lk