A Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr Tarela Sarimiye, says early diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases are critical to maintaining a child’s vision as well as a healthy eye.
Sarimiye, who works at the University College Hospital, Ibadan made this known in an interview with Newsmen on Sunday in Lagos.
He said that though the eye represented less than one per cent of the total body volume, a loss of one’s sight results in more than 20 per cent of one’s functionality and capability.
According to him, this is even worse in children who are still growing and their sight is a major factor that helps them learn and explore their environment for proper development and growth.
“There are many eye conditions and diseases that can affect a child’s vision; early diagnosis and treatment are critical to maintaining a child’s vision and a healthy eye.
“There are a few of the common eye conditions in childhood and for which care is needed including poor vision; allergic conjunctivitis.
“A child with poor vision can be suspected of such when he or she sits close to the television screen to watch programmes, teacher complains that the child is not seeing the chalk board or likes copying from friends and not the board.
“If this poor vision is not addressed on time it may result to a less functionally developed eyes due to reduced stimulus for the eye development and which is much difficult to treat.
“Conjunctivitis, an allergic condition affecting the transparent coating of the white of the eye can occur as a seasonal or perennial reaction.
“The child when exposed to allergens which are usually free floating in the air such as pollen from grass, a reaction is triggered that causes itchy sensation, tearing, which leads to redness of the eyes and sometimes swelling of the eyelids.
“The child should be taken for appropriate treatment by an eye specialist, proper eye health is a must for all children,” he said.
The consultant, however, urged parents to ensure that their children spend less of their time on the television or computer screen to prevent problems that may affect their vision.
He also urged parents to ensure that children below five years were given Vitamin A supplement as part of routine immunisation.
“This will ensure that the child is not deficient in vitamin A which is very good for the sight.
“We need to start taking care of our children’s eyes right from infancy until they become adults, because eyes are very important part of the body,” Sarimiye said.