Some ophthalmologists suggest children should have their first eye exam at about age three. Always have a child's vision checked if there is any doubt about how well he or she sees. Early detection of eye problems can sometimes prevent significant damage to the eye or to vision.

Babies begin to fix on faces and colourful objects from 3-4 months of age. Babies also prefer to fix on patterned surfaces. Special tests to assess a child’s vision are available based on these principles. An experienced clinician can determine a child’s visual potential based on observation of visual behavior and these tests. Drops are used to dilate the child’s eyes to check for any glass power and to do a detailed retina check up.

Glasses are prescribed in babies to correct a high glass power, for correction of squint or after cataract surgery. These glasses are necessary for development of normal vision and binocularity in children. Children are smarter than you think! They realize that vision is clearer with glasses and adapt very rapidly to them. Special lightweight lenses, colourful frames with restraining bands are available especially for children.

Glasses are prescribed for development of normal vision and binocularity in children. If the glasses are not worn regularly, it can even lead to permanent loss of vision and development of "lazy eye" .Numbers can be removed after age of 18 yrs.

The visual system of a child develops rapidly in the first two years and continues to develop till a child is eight years of age. A child learns to use both the eyes together and develops binocular or 3 D vision. Squint surgery has to be done early in order to restore the normal position of the eyes during this period of development. Squint surgery done in older age groups is only for cosmetic purpose, not for functional gain.

No. Squint surgery is done only to correct the deviation of the eyes. Glasses will have to be continued after surgery.

Common symptoms are: if a baby has a problem focusing on objects or faces, has a squint, has shaking movement of the eyes, goes close to the T.V. or blackboard, squeezes his eyes, rubs eyes continuously, has redness or sticky discharge from the eyes etc. One indicator of a serious problem can be a white reflex in the black part of the eye (pupil). It is strongly recommended that all children have a routine eye examination by a paediatric ophthalmologist at 2-3 years of age before starting school.

Watching T.V./ playing video games or reading in dim light does not harm your eyes or lead to glasses or an increase in glass power. A child with glasses can engage in all indoor and outdoor activities. However, children can develop blurred vision, headaches and other problems due to excessive T.V. watching, hence this should be restricted.

Lazy eye, technically called amblyopia, means that one or both eyes have blurred vision even with the correct glasses. Amblyopia is a disorder of the brain which blocks vision from one eye because both eyes cannot be used together. Because the brain suppresses the vision in one eye early in life, normal sharpness of vision does not have a chance to develop.

Common causes:

1.Refractive amblyopia - Develops when one eye is more farsighted or near sighted than the other and appropriate glasses have not been worn. The brain cannot process a clear image from one eye with a blurred image from the other eye; hence it blocks the image from the eye with blurred vision.

2. Strabismic amblyopia - When a child has squinting of the eyes, the two eyes point in different directions. Therefore two different images are sent to the brain which causes double vision. In order to avoid this double vision the brain blocks the image from the squinting eye leading to a decrease in vision in that eye.

3. Treatment - Lazy eye can be treated by a combination of glasses, patching and surgery when required. Lazy eye is best treated if detected at an early age.

Child can train his eye muscles to work better together and correct problems like strabismus, crossed eyes. This involves training the muscles that align the eye.