As an Ophthalmologist and Oculoplastic surgeon, I’m committed to providing the most up to date, high quality eye care for you and your child. Having worked on many cases with children, I’m skilled at interacting with children and providing a gentle, non-intimidating experience for your family.
I provide a full range of pediatric eye care, including but not limited to the conditions and services listed below:
- Strabismus (squint eyes)
- Ptosis (droopy eyelid)
- Blocked tear ducts
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
- Congenital malformations
- Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
- Paediatric cataracts or glaucoma
- Injuries to the eye
- Eye screening for juvenile diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis (JRA)
- Diplopia (double vision) evaluation and surgery
- Retinoblastoma evaluation and management
- Refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism)
- Infections of the eye and orbit (e.g. conjunctivitis)
- Eyelid problems (E.g Ephiblepharon)
In this session, we will focus on the three common problems we see (Refractive errors, Allergic Conjunctivitis, Epiblepharon) & how to prepare them for the trip to see me.
1) Refractive errors
If your child is experiencing blurred vision; refractive errors could be one potential cause so it is important for your child to have an examination right away.
What are the most common refractive errors in children?
- Myopia (also called nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (also called farsightedness)
- Astigmatism (distorted vision)
Your child can have two or more types of refractive errors at the same time.
Myopia: Close objects look clear, but distant objects appear blurred.
Hyperopia: Words on a page will seem blurry, or it will be difficult to see well enough to do close-up tasks, like threading a needle.
Astigmatism: Astigmatism distorts or blurs vision for both near and far objects. It’s almost like looking into a fun house mirror in which you appear too tall, too wide or too thin.
Refractive errors must be diagnosed early and treated. Delay in treatment can lead to lazy eyes and affect the intellectual capacity of the child.
What is allergic conjunctivitis?
Allergic conjunctivitis is a very common eye condition affecting more than 20% of the population. It is a reaction of the eye to allergens in the environment such as dust, pollen or animal dander.
What are some common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis?
Symptoms may vary from very mild to severe. Once triggered, it can cause red, watery, itchy or swollen eyes. Itching is the most common symptom from eye allergies. Other symptoms often include stinging, grittiness, tearing, burning and stringy whitish eye discharge.
What are the treatment options for allergic conjunctivitis?
Avoiding the allergen may be the most reasonable solution however this can be hard to do. Using plain artificial tears or frequently washing your face can help wash away the allergens. Cold compresses applied to the eyes also aids in reducing the allergic reaction. Avoid rubbing the eyes if possible.
What medications are available to treat allergic conjunctivitis?
Variety of anti-allergy eye drop medications are available. They are more effective if used daily, but some can also be used on an as needed basis.
What options are available if anti-allergy eye drops don’t work?
There are different types of anti-allergy drops with different uses. If the symptoms remain the same despite medication, we may have to try different antihistamine drops. In addition, there is the option for oral medication if needed.
Should I use steroid eye drops?
Yes, sometimes a short course of steroid eye drops along with the anti-histamine type eye drops is required to relieve severe allergic reaction. Steroid use should be monitored closely by Ophthalmologist.
What are other treatment options?
If eyedrops do not relieve the allergy in severe cases, patients may need other modalities of treatment such as injections.
What is Epiblepharon?
Epiblepharon refers to an in-turning of the eyelashes in the presence of a normal eyelid position. This condition is typically seen in children and young adults of Asian descent.
This causes the eyelid lashes to point towards the eye surface. The constant rubbing of the lashes against the cornea can cause irritation of the cornea and lead to red eyes. In some cases, the cornea may even become scratched and scarred.
Here is an example:
How do I know if my child has Epiblepharon?
Children with this condition often have the following symptoms:
• Itch and tearing
• Redness of the eyes
• Constant and frequent rubbing of eyes
• Photophobia (glare from bright lights)
What kinds of treatments are available for Epiblepharon?
Epiblepharon can be mild or severe and the treatment depends on the severity.
Some children with mild epiblepharon can grow out of the condition as their facial structures change. Mild cases can, therefore, be treated with lubricating eye drops or ointment.
In severe cases, surgery may be required. Surgery involves removing a small area of excess skin and muscle just below the lid margin to help the lashes rotate outwards.
Preparing your child for hospital
A visit to hospital can be frightening for a child. Here are some ideas and information to help your child.
What to tell your child before coming to hospital
Tell your child honestly and truthfully why they need to come to hospital. Telling your child before coming into hospital gives them time to prepare by asking questions and talking with you and others.
Practical tips and ideas
- Depending on the age of your child, give them plenty of time for ‘hospital play’. You can get them to do things like bandaging a Teddy, listening to family member’s heartbeats and playing doctor-patient acting games.
- Read books together about going to the hospital.
- Plan what you will take with you into hospital: a favorite doll, blanket, teddy or other comfort items
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment earliest possible to visit Dr. Vanessa. At this visit, Dr.Vanessa will be able to give you a clearer idea of what results you might expect, based on your unique condition and specific needs.
You can also fill out the form or book an appointment on the Contact Us page, and we will contact you as quickly as possible.