As much as we parents would like for our babies to have perfect health, we live in an imperfect world, and this simply isn’t always the case. While most children come into the world with great visual acuity — often better than 20/20 — a minority end up having (or developing) some kind of pediatric vision problem. Unlike with older children, teenagers or adults, however, babies and young children aren’t able to describe their symptoms to you very well. This is why it’s so important to start bringing your child in to see our Spring Valley Nevada optometrist, Glenn Roter, OD, for routine eye exams early on. While it may seem like a major inconvenience to add yet another appointment to your already very busy schedule, there are eye problems only an expert can detect — eye problems that are best dealt with as soon as possible.
Three pediatric vision problems we see relatively often here at the Spring Valley Nevada optometrist practice of Glenn Roter, OD, are congenital cataracts, amblyopia and strabismus. Like their adult counterparts, congenital cataracts are a cloudiness of a child’s eye lens impedes incoming light, resulting in distorted vision. The only difference is that, instead of being caused by eye trauma or excess exposure to UV radiation, these cataracts stem from flukes of genetics and/or pre-natal development. Though you may not like the idea of having your baby undergo eye surgery to remove the damaged lens and install a new plastic lens, this is the only way to deal with the problem. Thankfully, it’s become routine procedure over the last several decades. Amblyopia happens when, for one reason or another, one eye’s visual signals to the brain aren’t as strong as the other. If left untreated, it can lead to significant visual impairment in the effected eye as well as strabismus (a.k.a. “lazy eye”). Fortunately, however, amblyopia is fairly easily treated if caught before the age of nine or ten.
The eye experts here at the Spring Valley Nevada optometrist practice of Glenn Roter, OD, definitely don’t want to freak you out. Again, odds are that your child won’t have any vision problems at all until they get older. Still, we would like to strongly encourage you to have your baby’s eyes checked on a regular basis. Vision is extremely important, and it’s always better to address vision problems sooner rather than later.