Paediatric Ophthalmology is a sub-specialty which provides a comprehensive assessment of all aspects of visual concerns in children. A broad spectrum of eye conditions is assessed, from a simple chalazion to potentially life or vision threatening concerns, such as ocular/periocular tumours and congenital cataract. Specific to visual development in children is the appropriate and prompt management of amblyopia and strabismus. Eye traumas occur frequently in children and need to be assessed swiftly: ocular foreign bodies, intraocular haemorrhages, periocular lacerations, penetrating eye injuries and orbital fractures in children need urgent medical and often surgical management. Leukocoria, anisocoria, amblyopia and strabismus are important paediatric eye concerns which need timely assessment and treatment.
Amblyopia, sometimes called “lazy eye”, can lead to profound and irreversible vision loss in children. Amblyopia refers to reduced vision in one eye or both eyes due to abnormal visual development when the neural pathway between the eye and brain does not form properly during infancy and childhood. Risk factors for amblyopia span a broad spectrum, including congenital cataract, ocular misalignment (strabismus) and anisometropia (difference in refractive error between the eyes). Amblyopia needs to be managed promptly using occlusion (i.e., patching) or in some cases atropine penalization as well as spectacle, where indicated; surgical intervention may be a consideration if, for instance, the removal of a structural obstruction, such as cataract or corneal opacity, can clear the visual axis. Delayed and inappropriate amblyopia management can lead to irrecoverable vision loss in children. Amblyopia is a leading cause of potentially preventable vision loss in children and needs to be screened and effectively managed.