The visual function develops in the first 7-8 years of life and depends on there being no problem in the structures of the eyeball, the muscles that move our eyes and the correct connection with the brain. It is very important to detect any problem before this age and put a treatment, because later it may not have a solution. We must perform the following controls:
- During the first month of life: congenital cataracts, malformations and serious pathologies are detected.
- During the first year: we can detect strabismus.
- At 2 years of age: we can already have an assessment of visual acuity, rule out refractive errors that require glasses and detect an amblyopia (lazy eye). In cases where we suspect that there is a refractive defect, we perform an exploration with a cycloplegic eye drop, which dilates the pupil and relaxes the focusing system of the eye, and by means of a retinoscopy, we can see the exact graduation of the child.
- After 3 years we have a greater collaboration of the child for the realization of the measure of visual acuity and graduation.
- It is convenient to perform an annual control because, with the growth of the child, the graduation is changing. We have to be sure that the visual acuity is correct in both eyes, if necessary with well-graded glasses, before 7-8 years old, because if the vision is less in one eye than in the other, the brain develops only the visual function in the “good” eye and the other remains as an amblyopic eye (“lazy eye”).
DR. F. Antonio Arguedas / Ophthalmology Service