Every parent aspires for their child to be the best, the smartest and the most pleasant, there are factors that we cannot influence, but in the case of learning it is possible.
If we focus on making sure our children see well, we help 80% of the stimuli received to do so in the correct way. 80% of the stimuli we receive every day are visual.
Refractive errors or ametropia occur when a person has poor vision due to the optical malfunction of the eye.
The eye is an optical system capable of guiding light so that a clear image of the environment can be provided. If any of the structures of the eye are different, this leads to decreased visual acuity (blurred vision). Refractive errors are considered a priority in care due to their high morbidity, especially in the school population, and because if detected in a timely manner they can be treated, which increases the probability of preventing some anomalies of the visual system that are usually irreversible, such as the case of visual impairment due to amblyopia.
According to the Licentiate in Optometry Nancy Sol Espíndola, spokesperson for the Optometry Council Mexico, the most common causes of visual abnormalities in children are hyperopia, astigmatism and myopia.
Hyperopia is characterized by appearing in the first years of life, it is an eye with a shorter axial length (small eye) that does not manage to converge the light in the center of the retina called the macula and requires the use of positive lenses to achieve that rays of light meet at this point of best vision.
One of the main symptoms in babies is a deviation of the eye inward (endotropic strabismus), already at school age the symptoms are: decreased attention in general, headache when performing activities with a lot of attention, normally they do not like activities such as drawing watching television or using electronic devices.
This ametropia or refractive defect, not being adequately corrected, is the cause of amblyopia, which, when not treated in the early stages of life (before 12 years of age), can be irreversible and if it is in both eyes it generates visual impairment .
Astigmatism is a condition that causes blurred vision, both far and near, mainly due to the irregular shape of the cornea, the transparent covering of the eye. In this case, the eye is not able to focus the light rays on a point, due to the irregularity of the cornea it is possible that 2 or more rays focus on the retina and even generate a distorted vision (ghosts in the letters).
Although this refractive defect appears from birth, it becomes apparent on average upon entering school, where children require fine and precise activities. It can be combined with hyperopia and present symptoms before 3 years of age. In general, parents or caregivers will notice that the little one could have some ocular deviation (strabismus) or that he squints to focus on an object.
The case of myopia currently draws the attention of all specialists since in the last decade (together with the advance in the use of electronic devices) the age of onset of this refractive anomaly was reduced to the first decade of life.
Previously, the age of onset in most cases was adolescence, around 12 years, now we find cases of myopia not related to eye diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity before 6 years of age.
The myopia eye is an eye with an elongated axial axis (distance between the front and back) which prevents light rays from focusing on the retina and requires a lens to help focus the light rays on the retina and with it to see clearly in the distance.
High myopia (when the degree of the refractive error is greater than six or eight diopters) can cause various diseases in the retina in adulthood, such as lesions in the peripheral retina, macular abnormalities and retinal detachment.
To avoid the advance of myopia, we must emphatically ask parents not to allow the use of electronic devices before 2 years of age and between 2 to 7 years of age to use them moderately at established times (no more than 2 hours per day ). In this regard, they should ask the Licentiate in Optometry as the case may be, since in some minors there may be exceptions if they are in therapy programs or during the distance education period.
It is possible to wear contact lenses in babies
"In the aforementioned cases, glasses are usually recommended in the first years of life because of their practicality," said the Graduate in Optometry, "but there will always be exceptions because in some cases it is necessary to use contact lenses since they are babies and in in other cases, lenses plus visual therapy will be used as needed ”.
What should parents do to improve lens attachment?
Avoid talking about the subject threatening the infant, you should highlight the qualities and not the deficiencies. Babies reject the lenses for a long time the first weeks and later they do not have problems using them, so patience and perseverance will be their best allies.
In the case of children aged 3 years and over, asking the opinion of the minor for the choice of frames helps to better acceptance.
Listen to the minor and ask:
- Why don't you put your glasses on?
- Do they weigh?
- Do you think they are ugly?
- Is someone making fun of you?
- Do they cause any discomfort in your eyes?
Trying to ask specific questions builds confidence to tell us what the cause is and thereby better guide them toward accepting optical aid.
It is important from the first months of life to carefully observe the visual development of babies to make a timely detection, correct and preserve their visual health. exist Graduates in Optometry trained to take care of children in a special way so that they are an ally in the health of minors and advise parents during the process.
About Optometry Council Mexico
The Consejo Optometría México AC is a non-governmental organization with the following objectives in its statutes: to ensure the visual and general health of the population in Mexico and to promote optometry in professional practice, teaching and research. He is a member of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), whose mission is to facilitate the improvement and development of visual and eye care worldwide through education, humanitarian outreach and policy development.