Often when people talk about retinal diseases, they assume that they are common only in adults. However, children too can suffer from retinal disorders. It is important to note here that retinal diseases in children are different from those in adults. Early diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases may help slow or stop the progression of retinal diseases that affect children. Our retina specialists in Kolkata and other branches are experts at identifying retinal diseases and they work closely with paediatric ophthalmologists to help children get the best medical and surgical care when needed.
As one of the leading hospitals in Kolkata, we share with you some important things that you should know about retinal diseases:
1. Retinopathy of prematurity: This retinal disorder primarily affects premature infants. The smaller the baby at the time of the birth, the more likely that infant is likely to develop the condition. In premature babies, the normal growth of blood vessels is disrupted because of early birth.
Note: Any child who has retinopathy of prematurity and has undergone treatment should have regular annual eye exams even during adulthood.
2. Retinal detachment: Though rare in children, retinal detachment requires immediate medical care. It usually happens when there’s a tear in the retina. The most common cause of retinal detachment is an eye or head injury.
3. Juvenile macular degeneration: Juvenile macular degeneration causes central vision loss in children and young adults. As of now, there is no treatment for juvenile macular degeneration.
4. Retinoblastoma: Retinoblastoma is an eye cancer that starts in the retina. In rare cases, it can affect adults.
5. Uveitis: Uveitis is a form of eye inflammation. It affects the middle layer of tissue in the eyewall. The warning signs often show up suddenly and get worse quickly.
How are retinal diseases diagnosed in children?
Advances in imaging technology have made it possible for children with retinal diseases to be diagnosed early. This ensures that children receive immediate and proper treatment. There are different kinds of diagnostic tests that are recommended for young children. For some tests, children may be sedated so that diagnoses can be made
Common tests that we conduct at our hospital to diagnose retinal diseases in children:
- Fluorescein angiography: In this procedure, a dye is injected into the bloodstream. The dye causes the blood vessels in the back of the eye to shine while a camera-like device takes images.
- Electroretinography: Electroretinography is a test to measure the electrical response of the eye’s light-sensitive cells. This is mostly used to check the macula which is responsible for the central vision.
- Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT): This is a noninvasive imaging technology used to obtain 3D images of the retina. It gives retinal specialists a detailed 3D view of the inside of the eye.
- Visual field testing: A visual field test measures how much the eyes can see out of the corners. Basically, it checks for blind spots and other vision defects caused by retinal diseases.
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