We regularly take our eyes as a right, not realising they’re the home windows to the world. Any harm to those very important organs — particularly at a younger age — could cause a lifetime of distress and dependence.
“From the time of birth to early childhood and adolescence, eye care for children must be a special focus for families and paediatricians. Yet, India has the dubious distinction of not only having the largest number of blind in the world, but also possibly the largest number of blind children with estimates ranging between 1.6 to 2 million,” Dr Smita Kapoor Grover, Marketing consultant Paediatric Ophthalmology, Imaginative and prescient Eye Centres, New Delhi, tells indianexpress.com.
Causes of blindness in youngsters
Dr Grover factors out that corneal clouding and scarring had been thought-about to be the most typical causes of childhood blindness in India. “Studies in the early 2000s concluded refractive errors constituted the biggest cause of childhood blindness, followed by retinal degenerations, corneal opacities, congenital eye anomalies and amblyopia.”
It’s to be famous at the very least 1/sixth of the circumstances may have been prevented if causes similar to vitamin A deficiency had been taken care of. The remaining circumstances of childhood blindness had been discovered to occur due to congenital eye anomalies and retinal degeneration. “Research in the last few suggests that globe abnormalities in terms of childhood blindness have been attributed to genetic mutations as well as usage of drugs and alcohol and exposure to pesticides or fertilizers during pregnancy,” the physician says.
Significance of vitamin A
Well timed introduction of corrective glasses to youngsters relying on the diploma of severity can go a good distance in stopping blindness. Not solely that, dietary blindness amongst youngsters could be prevented by correctly administering vitamin A doses in line with their age. “Deficiency of Vitamin A can lead to a range of eye conditions: from xerophthalmia (incapacity to produce tears) to severe dryness of the cornea, and conjunctiva and nyctalopia (night blindness) to keratomalacia (clouding and softening of the cornea), which can lead to corneal rupture and permanent blindness,” says Dr Grover.
Deficiency of vitamin A may also result in measles in youngsters which, in flip, results in measles keratitis. “In this, the child while developing an infection in the cornea, may tend to produce excessive tears while also evincing extreme sensitivity to light. The infection can lead to corneal swelling or scarring which could cause permanent blindness.”
Moreover, if the mom contracts measles throughout being pregnant it turns into hazardous for the newborn who could lose their imaginative and prescient due to corneal and retinal issues. An encouraging truth is measles in youngsters beneath 5 has proven a demonstrable decline over time in India, says the physician.
Addressing the issue
Dad and mom should establish early indicators of a dysfunction — youngsters with uncoordinated eyes or cross-eyes at beginning. “This is because it takes time for coordination between eyes. However, if there is the persistence of cross-eyes, parents must visit a paediatric ophthalmologist,” suggests Dr Grover.
Guarantee well timed preventive remedy is obtainable by providing dietary supplements of vitamin A to anticipating moms and new-born infants. “Food rich in vitamin A, leafy vegetables and milk must be consumed. Also, it is better to avoid any home treatment without consulting an ophthalmologist. The guidelines by WHO on screen time for children of different age groups must be strictly adhered to.”