7 Common Eye Diseases in Children

We see objects, when the light passes through iris and focused on to cornea or lens of the eye to form an image. The image is transmitted to brain and in turn, brain send signals as to what we are seeing. All this happens in several nano seconds.

Children born with defects in any major feature like iris, cornea, optic nerves or light obstruction often result in several eye aliments. Here are the major eye aliments common in children.

Refractive Error

Lower sight in the eyes due to distortion when the light falls on the optic nerve. This results in the refraction of the sight and cannot see the objects properly. In general, refractive error can be categorised as astigmatism, hyperopia and myopia and doctors prescribe appropriate corrective glasses to the children.

Image showing refractive error and type of corrective glasses

Refractive Errors in Eyes

  • Astigmatism

When the curvature of two axis of cornea are different in the child during birth, they cannot focus to obtain the image. This kind of problem might appear very early in children.

  • Hyperopia (long Sight)

Children who have +2.5 diopters of power might result in reduction in the power in the first 3 years and in to complete blindness by the age of 12. They might also display dissimilar eyeball size with their age group and cannot see the objects nearer to them and form squint eyes.

Note: Do not ignore the squint eyes. Get them checked with a paediatric Ophthalmologist

  • Myopia (Short Sight)   

Short sightedness can occur due to genetics, reading and writing in a dim lit areas, or if both or any one of the parent is shortsighted. Children might display short sightedness as early as 4 or 5 years of age and increase till the age of 15 years and stabilises after that.


Lazy eye

When brain ignores signals from one of the eyes, children cannot see the objects from that eye. A child might develop lazy eye for the rest of their life if the astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia are left untreated.

Image showing squint eye

Lazy Eye

Night Blindness

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is the common reason for night blindness in children. It might also increase when the mother is under nourished and the baby is malnourished. Intake of Vit A rich food like carrots, spinach, tomatoes, dry fruits, whole milk etc can be helpful.



When the eye is infested with allergy, the child might display thinner cornea.

Image showing Keratoconus condition


The common allergens are cat and dog hair, pollen, dust mites, and cotton fibre. Common symptoms for the allergy can be over rubbing of eyes, redness, swelling and eye discharge.

  • Pediatricians usually prescribe eye drops for the allergy, steroids and injections
  • Parents needs to avoid common allergens
  • Wash the eyes with cold water and give cold compress


Lid Margin Disease

Ailment in children with irritation and itching around their lids. Doctors shall check the scales in lids.

Image showing Lid Margin Disease

Lid Margin Disease

  • Use baby shampoo and wet wipes to clean the eyes twice daily
  • Apply antibiotic ointment prescribed by the doctor


Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction

A condition where children show watering and discharge from one or both eyes at a very young age (6 months).

Image showing blockage of Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction

Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction

Usually, the eye duct (nasolacrimal duct) takes about 6 months to open, which drains tears to nose.  If it takes longer than that, your doctor might ask you to gently massage around the eye duct. If it takes longer than 1 year, the duct is probed open with local anesthesia. Rarely, dacryocystorhinostomy surgery is performed to open the duct after failed probing.

  • Clean the eyes, and apply antibacterial drops
  • Massage around the eye 4 to 5 times a day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s