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Eye Problems in Children Overlooked

Armen Hareyan's picture

It is very important to be sure that little children do not have problems with a "lazy eye" or strabismus. Unfortunately these days, medical students and pediatrics residents don't seem to be taught how to look for strabismus. If a child has a eye that is not focusing properly and wandering off to one side of the other, then the child's brain will start suppressing the vision in one eye, so that double vision does not occur.

I met a couple and their beautiful toddler one afternoon and was concerned that the little child was squinting. First she closed one eye and then the other. When I asked the doctor parent why the little child was squinting, the parent said she thought it was just something the toddler did. When I asked what the pediatrician said, the reply was that "Nothing was said about the eye."

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I took the liberty of calling a wonderful retired opthalmologist who said he thought the child was probably having double vision and was closing one eye to prevent that. Fortunately, the good parents had the little girl seen by a pediatric opthalmologist and the diagnosis of strabismus was made. Hopefully, patching witll correct the problem, so surgery will not be needed.

Thank goodness this little girl will not end up with a blind eye which could easily have happened. Strabismus must be picked up and treated before age five to six to prevent amblyopia or the suppression of vision in one eye.

By Dr. Charlotte Thompson