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As a follow up to our previous post, here are more answers to questions from our live chat with Consultant Ophthalmologist and Medical Director, Dr Ayo Harriman, on the hospital’s Instagram handle. The topic was: Protecting children’s eyes during COVID and the new school session.

What are the areas of the eyes parents and guardians should monitor for signs of a sight challenge?

There are different components to the eye. We have the cornea, which is the clear dome in front of the eye. We have the white part called the sclera. Some muscles hold the eye in place and help it move up or down. Sometimes, there may be a problem with the enervation of the muscles so that the child has a squint. Squints can easily be corrected, either with glasses or with surgery. If it is with glasses, the glasses need to be checked from time to time. So, when children have their eyes checked, the doctor also checks the muscles to be sure that they are working properly.

The large coloured area of the eyes determines the colour of the eye. Depending on how much pigmentation we have on the body, eyes can be blue, grey, brown, etc. The central black area is called the pupil and behind this pupil is the lens. Some children might develop cataracts. If they do so, they will not be able to see because light has to go through that lens into the eye to the retina. Sometimes, there might be a problem with the lens and the child cannot see well.

There are some tumours in children that some parents may see. They might not realise it is a tumour, but they might notice a white or yellowish spot where the black of the eye should be. Such eyes should be checked because it could be cancer. The parent might say the child’s eyes look like a cat’s eyes at night. We could check such eyes because of cancer of the eyes.

Should children wear glasses?

Yes, if it is necessary. Some parents dislike the fact that children have to wear glasses. But many children these days are short-sighted, and we find that they do need glasses.

If glasses are unnecessary, they will not be prescribed.

How do children’s eye challenges differ from adults?

Sometimes children have glaucoma. Some babies can have beautiful eyes. Large, beautiful eyes. Such eyes may not be normal and might have glaucoma. Children and adults can have glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the pressure of the eye is high. And because it is high, it can damage the nerves at the back of the eyes and can affect the quality of vision. But because the child’s eye is soft, if the pressure of the eye goes high, that eye starts expanding like a balloon, unlike in adults. The adult eyes are firmer, so if the pressure on the eye is high, the eyeball does not expand. Such children with beautiful big eyes need to have their eyes properly checked by the paediatrician.


If you have any eye questions, send them to our Instagram handle @stedmundseyehospital or to our dedicated WhatsApp line (+234 912 767 8735) and they will be treated in one of our future sessions.