Lights, toys, lamps, peek-a-boo…
Playing corner, baby kitchen, plasticine, coloring…
It is maybe unbelievable, but we’re not in a playhouse, but in the Saint James Eye Clinic Children’s area. Because the children’s eye examination can be performed at any age, our communication skills with young patients is enhanced by the doctors’ amicable approach, patience and experience.
Tests for children – why?
The first ophthalmic screening is recommended at 9 months, if there is no known eye disease in the family and the baby is asymptomatic. The second test is scheduled at 2.5-3 years, and the third in pre-school period, ie 6-7 years.
It is important to recognize at a very early stage should your child have vision problems with one or both eyes. –This can be due to the lack of vision development and it is important that this condition is addressed at an early stage, either surgically or otherwise. Unfortunately, many children do not indicate that they are nott seeing well since they do not realize it. Signs that indicate low vision in children include: child bumping into things, child squinting to look at the television. Timely recognition is important because if this situation is controlled on time with adequate testing we can recognize and treat strabismus and irreversible amblyopia (lazy eye) can be avoided.
Tests for children – how?
1. When your baby cannot talk yet
The first part of the test is making friends by playing with a favorite home toy, or a toy from the clinic, which leads to engangement. In the second part we ”play” with colored lights, magnifying glasses, optical instruments. In the third stage we check the anatomical structure of the eye, the refraction, further advanced zoom, eye drops may only be necessary in case of need of further investigation. During the test, the child is sitting in his mother’s or father’s lap, in a familiarandsafe position. In most cases there is no need to restrain the baby.
2. When the images already have names
Most infants that are taken for an eye examination can recognize illustrations and images. At this age technically they are capable of cooperating with the examining doctor and team.
3. Kindergarteners and school children
At this age, most of the usual, basic adult tests can be performed. The main difference is the vision test, when the numbers or letters are not good friends as yet, and we show the so-called “Grubby Peter hands” or “Fork” signs to define the vision.
Glasses for cute babies?
If necessary, yes! A spectacled baby is better than an adult person able to use only one eye. During the tests we can measure the required diopters with great accuracy, and glasses can be prescribed.
Dilation? Does it hurt?
Dilating eye drops are used mainly for two reasons. In some cases of suspected lesions (eg, congenital cataracts, fundus lesions) the eye becomes more accessible by pupil enlargment. In the other case we add dilating drops in order to relax the muscle (iris) providing the adaptability of the eye. We can perform dilated refraction on the child’s eye, which is essential for the accurate diagnosis and if necessary, for precise glasses. The drops might sting a little bit. It is not more unpleasant than the water that goes into the child’s eyes while bathing. While we wait for the drops to take effect, the child can play in the playing area of the clinic. The pupils might remain dilated for around 6 hours.
Good visual acuity is essential for the children’s development and for the progress of their education, so protect your children’s eyes now in order to let them live a full life in the future.
Babies and children are welcome for a consultation combined with a half-an-hour ophthalmological play.