Ohio Eye Alliance is proud to have available a full range of services for the detection and treatment of eye conditions in children of all ages and adults in the greater Canton, Alliance, and Youngstown areas including Stark, Holmes, Mahoning, and Columbiana counties of Northeastern Ohio. Healthy eye development is essential to a child’s general health and happiness. Dr. Sanjeev Dewan is a fellowship trained in Pediatric Ophthalmology who provides complete and thorough examinations for the diagnosis and treatment of congenital eye disorders and other childhood vision problems in a caring compassionate manner to minimize the anxiety and fear among young children. Dr. Dewan has over 20 years of experience working with children, engaging them in the exam to allow for proper measurement of vision, eye alignment and function.
Children’s Eye Care at Ohio Eye Alliance
Good eyesight is necessary for the normal development of a child’s milestones, for the child to develop physically and to interact with the environment. Dr. Dewan recommends screening of children at their Pediatrician or Family doctor at the age of 6 months and again at age one as part of a well-baby exam. Preschool screenings performed by qualified and trained staff is also an important way to detect which children require a complete eye exam. Conditions found at these times can be treated to prevent permanent vision loss at a later stage, such as amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (misalignment) or structural problems of the eye as well as refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, which can be corrected with eyeglasses.
During the exam, vision is measured in the older children and estimated in younger preverbal infants and children. Eye alignment is checked as well as the child’s ability to fixate on a and track an object. Dilation of the pupils with eye drops is performed to measure the need for glasses and to assess the overall health of the entire eye, including the retina and optic nerve.
What Is Strabismus?
Strabismus simply means eye misalignment, where the two eyes are looking at different images. In children with strabismus, one eye looks at one object of interest while the other eye points in, out, up or down. In children with strabismus, the eyes remain crossed in (Esotropia) or out (Exotropia). The presenting symptoms can include squinting of one eye, a head or face turn, or simply an “odd” appearance that parents and family haven’t been able to put an exact finger on. It is important to note that the majority of cases of strabismus is caused by an abnormality in brain control of the eye position, but occasionally there is a defect in the eye muscle function or structure itself whether on its own or secondary to the improper brain control.
What is Amblyopia?
Children with strabismus frequently have an associated condition called amblyopia (lazy eye), although amblyopia can occur without any eye misalignment. Here, one or both eyes have reduced visual acuity. Amblyopia is a problem with the brain’s ability to recognize the image from either eye, and is an attempt by the brain to adapt to abnormal input from the eyes. In strabismus, the brain in a child ignores or shuts off the image from one eye in order to make sense of the world. As we become older, we lose this ability and see double when the eyes are crossed. Often the two eyes have very different refractive errors so that the image from one eye is clearer than from the other. To deal with this visual confusion, the brain ignores or shuts off the signal from the less clear eye, leading to “lazy eye”. More accurately, this leads to a “lazy eye connection”. Treatment is critical since left untreated, amblyopia may result in permanent and profound loss of vision.
Treatment of Amblyopia
Amblyopia is treated by correction of any misalignment, and by strengthening the vision in one eye by use of eye drops or patching. Eye patches either band aid like or a felt wrap around for eyeglasses are often used in treatment of amblyopia. The patch is placed over the better seeing eye for some portion of the day to force the brain to use the weaker eye to improve the connection of the brain to that eye to work harder and thereby improve vision.
Regardless of the treatment required, it is critical to diagnose the conditions of amblyopia and strabismus early and treat promptly to prevent permanent problems that will affect the child’s ability to see and develop normally and to have normal binocular vision.
Treatment of Strabismus
Treatment of strabismus usually involves eyeglasses to allow best vision to develop and to correct the misalignment. If glasses alone do not correct the strabismus, surgery is needed to straighten the eyes. In strabismus surgery, the eye muscles are moved (recessed or resected) to strengthen or to weaken them to align the eyes, making up for the imbalance of signals from the brain or for the structural and functional problem in the muscle action. It is very important to have the eyes straightened at an early time as possible after presentation of the problem to prevent long-term loss of vision and depth perception or stereopsis.
If you believe your child may have amblyopia, strabismus, a congenital eye disorder or other childhood vision problem, or if you would like to schedule a routine eye exam for your child, please call our office at Alliance:(330)823-1680, Canton:(330) 966-8469, Canfield:(330) 533-1041, or (800) 423-6811 to schedule an appointment.
We have a long and reputable history of working with children and are sensitive to the concerns of our youngest patients and their parents. We are excited to be have the opportunity to help your child achieve and maintain healthy vision.
Besides diagnosing and treating disorders of children’s eyes, the ophthalmologists and eye care professionals of Ohio Eye Alliance offer a range of other eye services, such as refractive cataract and LASIK surgery. Our doctors are renowned for state of the art care in glaucoma, eyelid surgery and blepharoplasty.
For more information on topics related to Pediatric Ophthalmology, go to the web site for the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus at www.aapos.org