How should children take care of their eyes? When should they be taken to the ophthalmologist? My son tears, when is it worrying? Does my child have a strabismus? These are some of the questions every parent asks. For this reason, Lucía Galán , better known as Lucía Mi Pediatra, a pediatric specialist and writer, and Dr. Carlos Laria , director of the Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Unit of Clínica Baviera, solve all the insecurities of parents in 6 keys to identify if the little ones have vision problems .
Thinking of going to the ophthalmologist with a baby is sometimes difficult for some parents in case they have a bad time. But that fear must disappear. Currently, there are diagnostic methods adapted to the age of the baby and children in order to know how the state of their vision is at different ages of development, without the need for the child to speak or collaborate.
1. When do babies start seeing?
One of the most common doubts that first-time parents have is when they start to see babies and what that vision is like . In this regard, Lucía Mi Pediatra clarifies that, unlike other senses, the process of vision development is progressive . At first babies only perceive lumps, lights and shadows; at two months they are able to recognize the parents’ faces if they are very close and even smile (what is called a social smile); after three months they can already carry out a 180º visual follow-up and follow us with our eyes if we move close to them; It is not until six or seven months of life when the child begins to perceive colors and depth with quality. However, visual maturation is not reached until six or eight years of life.
2. The color of babies’ eyes
This is one of the first things parents pay attention to as soon as the child is born. There is no general rule about when a baby gets his final eye color , but it is an individual process, like the rate at which his hair grows. Dr. Laria clarifies that “some acquire at six months the color they will have for the rest of their lives, while others may take more than a year to define.”
3. What to do when the baby cries an eye
It is quite frequent that, during the first months of the baby’s life, his eyes water. This is because many children, at birth, have a tear duct that connects to the blocked nose. In this way, the tears produced by the eyes accumulate and can be a focus of infections, bladders and continuous tearing. During the first 6 months of life this problem can be treated by washing and massaging the tear duct several times a day. If not resolved, the ophthalmologist can perform a simple surgical operation called a probe to permeate the duct and prevent recurrent infections.
4. Legaña and glued eyes
Another very frequent problem that many parents face is that children can get up one day with their eyes glued together and full of blemishes. However, Lucía Mi Pediatra insists that “ conjunctivitis , despite being very annoying, does not usually entail any major repercussions or serious consequences for the eyes. In this situation, the eye should be washed with saline and sterile gauze and avoid home treatments, such as chamomile, and go to the pediatrician for evaluation and to indicate an adequate antibiotic treatment, if necessary. ”
5. When the baby twists an eye
Having the impression that newborns squint is very common , and is often a cause for alarm among parents. In the first 2-3 months of life the visual system is very immature and babies have a hard time focusing. Also, having such a small nose can give the impression of false squint. After these three months have passed, any suspicion of ocular deviation should be consulted with the specialist, as well as if the deviation is very evident or fixed.
6. First ophthalmological review
It is always recommended to do it during the first year of life . “If we do not do a correct follow-up of the sight of the children, it may happen that we do not detect any serious pathology, such as a congenital cataract or an ocular tumor that must be operated on immediately”, warns Dr. Laria. In addition to these rare diseases, there are other problems that are frequent and that are essential to start treating in the first months or years of life, when there is greater brain plasticity, such as lazy eye, strabismus or refractive problems.