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Sunday, December 08, 2019

Dear parent,

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Care for your eyes

How does the eye work?

The human eye is like a camera.
It creates an image of its surroundings by collecting, focusing and transmitting light.
The created image is then transmitted to the brain.

A good vision is important for optimal learning and good quality of life.

Many conditions may affect the functioning of the eye. The good news is that, if detected early, most of these conditions are amenable to treatment.

Early detection and treatment of eye problems are essential to a child's visual health.

So, check your child's eye vision regularly and discuss with your child's doctor any abnormality you note.


The vision of all children is checked yearly using the acuity test.

If a learner fails to pass the test, or if any misalignment is noted, a paper is sent to the parents advising the referral to an eye doctor.

In addition to the regular check-up at school, and/or with the child's doctor, watch out for the following signs that indicate possible vision problems your child may have:

1- Constant eye rubbing
2- Extreme sensitivity to light
3- Poor focusing
4- Poor visual tracking (following moving objects)
5- Abnormal alignment or movement of the eyes (above 6 months of age)
6- Chronic redness of the eyes

Parents, or older children themselves, may watch for other signs such as:

1- Inability to see objects at distance

2- Inability to read the board

3- Squinting

4- Difficulty reading

5- Sitting too close to the TV to be able to see programs

In any of the above cases please visit your eye doctor


Some of the common eye problems

Lazy eye

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is a problem that causes poor vision of children

Two common causes of amblyopia are: crossed eyes and a difference in the refractive error between the left and right eye.

After the cause of amblyopia is found, the child will need to use the "weak" eye most of the time so it will get stronger. This can be done by using patches, eye drops or special glasses that help blur the vision of the stronger eye. This makes the weak eye become "stronger". The treatment usually lasts until vision becomes normal or until vision stops getting better.

Early treatment is very important. It should be done during the first few years of life before the brain's vision system is complete, usually at the age of eight to ten. By this age, the brain's "programming" will ignore signals from the sick eye. Therefore, if amblyopia has not been treated by this age, the child will have poor vision in this eye for life. It will not be possible to fix it with glasses, patching or any other treatment.

Crossed eyes

Strabismus or “crossed eyes” is a misalignment of the eyes. They may turn in, out, up or down. This may be a normal phenomenon to newborn babies. However, after 3-6 months of age, if you see your child's eyes wander or cross, talk to your doctor.

Strabismus is a problem because normal vision needs both eyes to look in the same direction at the same time. A person with crossed eyes will get a different picture from each eye and the brain will block out the picture from the weaker eye.

If untreated, this can cause Amblyopia (see above)

The aim of the treatment is to make the wandering eye work more. This is done by patching, eye drops or special eyeglasses. An operation to straighten the eye may be done but is usually delayed until the weak eye has gotten stronger.

Discuss with your eye doctor the best modality for your child.

Refractive errors

They occur when the shape of the eye does not bend light properly so images appear blurred. They can be corrected by glasses, contacts or surgery for adults.

We have different types of refractive errors:

a)      Nearsightedness or Myopia:  the person can see things  that are near but has a blurred vision of far objects.
b)      Farsightedness or Hyperopia: near vision is poor but the person can see well objects that are far.
c)      Astigmatism: this is due to an imperfect curvature of the front surface of the eye (cornea) so the light is bended in different ways. This can distort images of things the person is looking at and make them look blurry.


Glasses and Contact Lenses.

Children of all ages may wear glasses.

Let your child pick up his own frame

Plastic frames are best for kids less than 2 years of age

Elastic strap attached to glasses helps keep them in place for active children.

Contact lens use should be based on the ability of the child to insert and remove lenses properly, take them out as needed and clean them as recommended by doctors.

Corrective surgery

There is a surgical procedure (LASER, LASIK...) to correct refractive errors. yet, it is not appropriate for children because their eyes are still changing. Moreover, this procedure has not been proved safe or effective in childhood.

Some facts concerning eye health:

1.       Sitting close to the TV does not damage a child's eyes but may indicate that a child has myopia.
Some eye problems may be inherited. Discuss your family visual history with your doctor.
3.      Vitamin A is essential for good vision but it is not exclusively found in carrots. A well balanced diet can provide the vitamin A needed for sight.
4.      Nightlight (instead of bright light) does not cause myopia but it can cause eyestrain and fatigue.
5.      Using computers does not harm the eyes but using computers for prolonged periods makes the eye dry and this causes a feeling of strain and fatigue.

Hence, encourage your child to take frequent breaks from computers and TV.