Eye Conditions We Treat
Amblyopia, "Lazy Eye"
Reduced vision in an eye that has not received adequate use during early childhood. Amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye," has many causes. It can result from a misalignment of a child's eyes, such as crossed eyes, or a difference in visual acuity between the two eyes. One eye becomes stronger, suppressing the vision of the other eye. In uncorrected, amblyopia can result in permanent vision loss.
Blurred vision caused by an irregularly shaped cornea (corneal astigmatism) or lens (lenticular astigmatism). The irregular shaped cornea or lens causes light to focus on more than one point in the eye, blurring vision. Astigmatism can usually be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery.
A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens. The lens is made up of mostly water and protein. Protein can sometimes clump together to cloud an area of the lens and blur vision. In very young children surgical removal of the cataract offers the best solution for preserving vision. Because of the size of the lens and an increased inflammatory response in kids, these children are best treated by a pediatric eye specialist.
Styes are acute infections of oil glands in the eyelids caused by bacteria from the skin. Styes usually develop over a few days and may drain spontaneously and heal. But, the white blood cells that kill the bacteria may leave behind a chronic lipogranuloma, called a chalazion.
Conjunctivitis, "Pink Eye"
Conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that lines the eye, is contagious. The eye becomes pink, feels itchy and gritty and has a discharge that produces crusted eyelids.
Esotropia, "Crossed Eyes"
One or both eyes turn inward. Young children with esotropia do not use their eyes together. In most cases, early surgery is needed to correct the misalignment and prevent vision loss.
Exotropia ,"Wall Eyes"
One or both eyes turn outward. Although glasses or eye muscle exercises may help control or reduce the outward turning eye, surgery is often needed to correct exotropia and prevent permanent vision loss.
Although glaucoma is commonly associated with older adults, in children it is much more serious and more difficult to treat. Glaucoma, which occurs in one in 10,000 children, is caused by an elevation in pressure inside the eye that results from a buildup of excess fluid. Most adults develop the condition as their eyes change with age or as a response to trauma, but glaucoma in children occurs because their eyes did not form normally in their mother’s womb. Nearly all children need surgery for this condition. Recently a new procedure – called endolaser – has shown promise for treating children with glaucoma. In late 2004, Children’s performed the first pediatric endolaser procedure in Colorado. This type of laser is only available for kids at a few centers in the country.
Genetic Diseases of the Eye
Many eye diseases have a genetic component and many genetic diseases and birth defects can affect vision. Genetic diseases are inherited. Congenital cataracts (those present at birth) and retinal degenerations, such as retinitis pigmentosa, are common eye disesases with a genetic link.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a common vision problem. People with hyperopia can see distant objects very well, but have difficulty seeing objects that are up close. The eyeball of a farsighted person is shorter than normal. Many children are born with hyperopia, and some of them outgrow it as the eyeball lengthens with normal growth. Childhood hypertropia is a common cause of crossed eyes (estropia.)
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a common vision problem.Nearsighted people can see close objects very well, but have difficulty seeing objects at a distance. The eyeball of a nearsighted person is slightly longer than usual from front to back.
Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction, "Teary Eyes"
Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction is a common condition in which tear drainage to nasolacrimal duct is partially or fully blocked. Tears, mucous, and bacteria are not cleared from the eye.
Ptosis, "Drooping Eyelids"
Ptosis (pronounced toe-sis) is the medical term for drooping eyelids. In some cases, the sagging upper eyelid can result in a loss of upper field vision.
Retinopathy of Prematurity
Retinopathy of Prematurity or ROP is the abnormal growth of blood vessels within the retina and vitreous that occurs in some premature infants. Typically, the smallest and earliest premature babies are at the highest risk for developing ROP. The severity of ROP varies, ranging from nearly normal vision to total blindness.
Strabismus involves deviation of the alignment of one eye in relation to the other. Strabismus is caused by a lack of coordination between the eyes or weak eye muscles. As a result, the eyes look in different directions and do not focus simultaneously on a single point. In children, the brain may learn to ignore the input from the misaligned eye. If this is allowed to continue, the eye that the brain ignores will never see well. This loss of vision is called amblyopia, and it is frequently associated with strabismus.
Trauma to the Eye
Eye trauma refers to any injury to the eye. It is a regular event in children and a common cause of loss of vision. Trauma from sports is common. Other common causes of trauma to the eye include chemicals, sharp toys or fingernails. Any trauma to the eye should be considered a medical emergency. Immediate medical care is necessary.