Pediatric Eye Care: Myth & Facts

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Myth: Squint in small children will go away on its own.

Fact: Squint in children may develop at any age. It does not go away but rather progresses with time. Squint needs to be treated as early as possible to restore good vision and stereopsis (depth perception). Consult a paediatric ophthalmologist at the earliest to avoid further problems with vision.

Myth: Squint is just a cosmetic problem.

Fact: Squint is a functional problem in addition to being a cosmetic issue. A child with squint usually supresses vision from squinting the eye and thus uses only one eye at a time. This means that the child loses all the advantages of having binocular vision such as good 3D vision (stereo acuity – which is the ability to judge depth and distance in space) and better field of vision. Squint can also be a result of a serious disease in the eye or brain. Therefore it is essential for a child with squint to be evaluated and treated by a paediatric ophthalmologist.

Myth: Watching TV from a close distance and excessive computer use can damage the eyes.

Fact:  There is no evidence that watching TV from a close distance damages the eyes. Children with refractive errors (especially myopia or near-sightedness) tend to sit closer to TV screens. Therefore a routine eye evaluation by an ophthalmologist must be done to rule out this problem. However, studies indicate that increased screen time, which includes time spent on mobile, TV, tablets, computers etc., increases the risk of progression of myopia.
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Myth: Children should get eye check ups done only if they complaint of eyestrain or headache.

Fact:  Refractive error in children can lead to blurring of vision, eyestrain or headache. Unlike adults, children may not have any complaints in the initial period. Because of this, refractive errors in children may get detected very late after they have progressed significantly. Therefore, routine eye check-ups are a must for children.

Myth: Kids inherit the trait of poor eyesight from their parents.

Fact: Unfortunately, this is sometimes true. If parents have an eye disease or need glasses for good vision, the chances of their children inheriting that trait are high. It is important to share your family’s visual history with your eye doctor.

Myth: Eating carrots can improve vision.

Fact: Although it’s true that carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is essential for eyesight, a well-balanced diet can provide the vitamin A needed for good vision. Unlike the popular belief, Vitamin A is not related to the development or progression of refractive errors.
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Myth: Using eye glasses constantly will make the eyes “dependent” on them.

Fact: Wearing glasses constantly is not bad for the eyes. A child with a significant refractive error needs the glasses for good vision and may prefer to wear them constantly. Therefore parents should not instruct the child to take off the glasses.

Myth: Childhood myopia usually goes away as you age.

Fact:The most common type of myopia is axial myopia which is due to an increase in the axial length of the eye (size of the eyeball). Refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism) can change with time due to natural growth of the eye.  So as the child grows older, the size of the eye may increase further, leading to progression of myopia

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