The inability to clearly see distant objects, known by the medical term myopia, manifests itself not only in the elderly, but also in children, becoming disturbing in the first years of school. Detected from the first signs, myopia can be corrected.
In most cases, myopia is discovered around school age, 6-7 years. Then it can be easily recognized by the parents, even more so when it affects both eyes or in severe forms, when the little one can’t see well at the blackboard during classes or is bent over the notebook when writing. The disease can evolve slowly until the age of 25, becoming stationary, or it progresses throughout life, reaching high values, accompanied by intraocular lesions.
Sometimes it is symptomless
The most suitable period for the diagnosis and successful treatment of the disease is between 6 months and 2 years. Unfortunately, however, it is precisely in small children and infants that the warning signs happen to be missing. “Many children arrive at the ophthalmologist late, when the development of vision is already compromised. That’s why a medical check-up is indicated immediately after birth in the case of a premature child or with any type of eye damage”, draws the attention of doctor Călin Ciubotaru. Also, parents must take the little one to an ophthalmological check-up around the age of 1 if the mother had infections during pregnancy, if the labor was prolonged and the baby did not have enough oxygen at birth or if close relatives have diseases ocular: strabismus, glaucoma, congenital cataract, large diopters, astigmatism.
Don’t look with both eyes
The first signs that should worry appear at the age of 6 months. Then it can happen that the infant does not follow moving objects with both eyes or has crossed eyes (strabismus). Then, a visit to the ophthalmologist is necessary, just as it is good for a first consultation to take place before the age of 2, even if there are no risk factors or symptoms of any eye disease. In this way, possible small eye deviations and refractive errors are detected. If they are neglected, an irreversible decrease in visual acuity can be reached. Parents should also be alarmed if they notice that their child sits too close to the television, holds books and toys too close to his eyes, looks with half-opened eyes at a distant object or avoids drawing or coloring.
The child must be seen by an ophthalmologist whenever the parents suspect an eye problem: blow, irritation, red eye, loss or change in vision, eye pain, purulent secretions, drooping or drooping eyelids.
He has headaches for no reason
Another period when symptoms of possible eye problems, such as myopia, can be observed is the beginning of a new education cycle, especially at the age of 6-7 years. “I recommend an ophthalmological consultation for preschool or school children who present behavioral disorders such as nervousness, aggressiveness, hypermotility (acceleration of movement) or unjustified headaches, a drop in school performance, learning difficulties,” says doctor Ciubotaru.
Did you know that…
…watching TV at too short a distance and reading intensively make myopia develop faster?
In the first year of school and every four years, some refractive errors can be discovered that can be corrected by eyeglasses, contact lenses, classical surgery or laser surgery.
Dr. Andreea Ciubotaru
Infosan Ophthalmological Clinic, Bucharest
Small myopia is usually diagnosed at school age and tends to increase towards the age of puberty, along with the enlargement of the eyeball. A myopia above -0.5D in school children must be corrected according to the subjective test (lens with the smallest minus with which the child sees clearly). In preschool children, a myopia of up to -1.5 D can be left uncorrected, because young children are interested in what is happening in their immediate vicinity. But if the myopia exceeds -1.5D, then it must be corrected, because the lack of correction can cause divergent strabismus to appear.