Some babies are born with sufficiently high errors of refraction so their vision may be very blurry. Sadly, many of them go undiagnosed and this can lead to permanent disability. Fortunately, if detected and treated early, their visual experience can be immediately transformed.
Research in visual development in children has shown that “early visual experience is critical for proper development of the networks that support binocular vision for the rest of life.” In simple worlds, we need to have clear vision during infancy and in childhood in order to fully develop the connections between our eyes and our brain, otherwise we may never be able to see normally later in life.
This is why it is critical that parents and pediatricians recognize the signs of poor vision and immediately refer to a specialist for correction. Sometimes the problem may be easy to detect like those with cross-eyes (libat) but in many the signs can be very subtle and only a careful examination will show the full extent of the condition. Babies who seem to ignore toys, or who don’t smile or recognize their primary caregivers may have serious eye problems.
For diagnosis and management babies and children with eye conditions can be referred to Dr. Loren Yap Ong, a senior partner of the ACES EYE Referral Clinics is the first pediatric ophthalmology specialist in Cebu. He did his fellowship in Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.