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Specific Eye Problems



Astigmatism. An irregularly shaped cornea that can cause blurred vision. Glasses if it causes blurred vision.
Blepharitis (swollen eyelids). An inflammation in the oily glands of the eyelid. This usually results in swollen eyelids and excessive crusting of the eyelashes. Warm compresses and washing the eyelids with baby shampoo. Antibiotics may be needed if there’s an infection.
Blocked tear ducts. In some babies the eyes overflow with tears and collect mucus. Gentle massage of the tear duct can help relieve the blockage. If that doesn’t work, a tear duct probing procedure or surgery may be needed.
Cataract. A clouding of the lens of the eye. Most cataracts must be surgically removed. Cataracts in babies and children are rare and are usually not related to cataracts in adults.
Chalazion. A firm, painless bump on the eyelid due to a blocked oil gland. May resolve on its own or be treated with eye drops or warm compresses. In some cases, surgery may be needed. 
Corneal abrasion (scratched cornea). A scratch of the front surface of the eye (the cornea). It can be very painful, and the eyes usually tear and are also sensitive to light. Antibiotic drops or ointment and occasionally an eye patch.
Droopy eyelids (ptosis). When the eyelids are not as open as they should be. This is caused by weakness in the muscle that opens the eyelid. If severe, it can cause poor vision development (amblyopia) and need eyelid surgery.
Falsely misaligned eyes (pseudostrabismus). Caused by a wide nasal bridge or extra folds of skin between the nose and eye—hence, the eyes only appear cross-eyed.  None
Farsightedness (hyperopia). Difficulty seeing close objects. A small degree of farsightedness is normal in babies and children. If it becomes severe or causes the eyes to cross, glasses are needed.
Glaucoma. A condition in which the pressure inside the eye is too high. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness. Warning signs are extreme sensitivity to light, tearing, persistent pain, an enlarged eye, cloudy cornea, and lid spasm. Glaucoma in childhood usually needs surgery.
Lazy eye (amblyopia). Reduced vision from lack of use in an otherwise normal eye. It’s often caused by poor focusing or misaligned eyes. Applying a patch or special eye drops to the “good” eye. Other treatments commonly include glasses or eye muscle surgery for strabismus.
Misaligned eyes (strabismus). When one eye turns inward, upward, downward, or outward. This is caused by eye muscles that do not work well together.  Glasses or, in some cases, surgery.
Nearsightedness (myopia). Difficulty seeing far away objects. Nearsightedness is very rare in babies, but becomes more common in schoolaged children. Glasses are used to correct blurred distance vision. Once nearsighted, children do not usually outgrow the condition.
Pink eye (conjunctivitis). A reddening of the white part of the eye, usually due to infections, allergies, or irritation. Signs include tearing, discharge, and the feeling that there’s something in the eye. Depending on its cause, pinkeye is often treated with eye drops or ointment. Frequent hand washing can limit the spread of eye infections to other family members and classmates.
Stye (hordeolum). A painful, red bump on the eyelid due to an infected oil or sweat gland. Warm compresses and antibiotic drops or ointment.
Last Updated
Your Child's Eyes (Copyright © 2005 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 11/2011)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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