Common Eye Problems

Dr. Burke is one of Cincinnati’s most trusted resources concerning treating lazy eye in children.

What is Lazy Eye

Many people mistakenly lump amblyopia (poor visual development) and strabismus (eye misalignment) into one category called “LAZY EYE”. These are two distinct problems and require very different therapies. Amblyopia is caused by a child’s eye not being used properly and that lack of stimulus results in the brain’s not developing normal vision.

How is Lazy Eye corrected?

Correcting amblyopia requires that the diagnosis be made as young as possible and appropriate treatment started right away and compliantly continued until maximum visual recovery is achieved. Strabismus, the encyclopedic word to describe all types of eye misalignment, typically requires surgery to straighten the eyes. Although strabismus usually begins and is typically treated in childhood, adults with eye muscle problems may be treated successfully at any age.

Dr. Burke is one of Cincinnati’s most trusted resources concerning headaches in children.

Do children get headaches?

Yes. It is a normal thing to have a headache once in a while. And it is okay for a child to complain of a headache occasionally.

What may cause a headache?

Some headaches can come from a fever, from being tired, from too much stress, and even from too much excitement. Children may perceive head pain from real problems of the eye, ear, sinus, dental, or neck, but this kind of headache usually occurs with other symptoms.

Is an eye exam important if my child complains of headache?

Yes. Children with persistent or unusual headaches are encouraged to have an evaluation with your primary care doctor and by a pediatric ophthalmologist.

Do children have migraine headaches?

Yes, and more frequently than most people suspect.

What are migraines?

Migraines are really a complex neurological syndrome. The pain of a migraine is actually an abnormal neurological processing of routine information from the body’s sensory receptors. The pain of a migraine is actually a normal sensation referred to the brain and misinterpreted. The most common complaint of those that experience a migraine is head pain. Many also may be aware of unusual sensations, called auras, which occur just as the migraine episode is beginning.

What are migraine auras?

Migraine auras are unusual, but unreal, neurological sensations that may involve visual, auditory, smell, gastrointestinal, or peripheral sensations like tingling in the hands or feet. The description of these auras are often as if they were experiencing a true hallucination. The common visual aura “observations” are blurring of vision, flashes of light, zig-zag lines, and black or colored spots.

Do migraines run in families?

Yes. Migraines run in families – 70% will have a close relative (parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, or uncle) who suffers from “sick” or “bad” headaches.

What if I suspect my child has migraines?

Although migraine complaints are common, not all headaches are migraine and not all headaches are benign. A complete evaluation by both your primary care specialist and a pediatric ophthalmologist is recommended.

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Dr. Burke is one of Cincinnati’s most trusted resources concerning conjunctivitis in children.

What is conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis, red or pink eye, is the term used to described inflammation of the conjunctiva.

What is the conjunctiva?

The firm, white shell of the eye (sclera) is covered by an almost transparent, thin membrane called the conjunctiva. The normal and healthy conjunctiva contains fine blood vessels within it. Because the conjunctiva is such a diaphanous tissue, whenever the conjunctiva becomes irritated or inflamed (no matter what the cause) it responds to in only one way – the blood vessel become dilated and more prominent which turns the eye red and may make the tissue slightly swollen.

What are the causes of conjunctivitis?

There are many different causes of conjunctivitis, the most common are infections, allergies, and chemical or environmental irritants.

What is infectious conjunctivitis?

The common infectious causes of conjunctivitis are bacteria and viruses. Bacterial conjunctivitis causes a red eye that is typically associated with a considerable amount of mucus and discharge. Viral conjunctivitis, on the other hand, causes a red eye with only a thin watery discharge.

What is allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis is a red eye caused by pollens or hay fever, animal dander, chemical irritants that are rubbed onto the eye, and environmental airborne irritants. The discharge tends to be only a small amount of a thin, watery discharge, although occasionally it appears as a thin, stringy, mucoid discharge. Those with allergic conjunctivitis often complain that her eyes are very itchy.

How do you treat infectious conjunctivitis?

If the conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria, topically applied antibiotic eyedrops or ophthalmic ointment are very helpful in limiting the duration of the pink eye to only a few days. Viral conjunctivitis does not respond to these topical antibiotics but fortunately spontaneously resolves in 1-2 weeks.

What are the treatment options for allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis often responds to cool, moist compresses held over the eyes and by eliminating the hand rubbing that potentiates the allergic response. For those that need more relief, over the counter and prescription eyedrops work well at relieving the itch and redness.

Is conjunctivitis contagious?

Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis may be quite contagious. Hand washing is the most important preventive measure. Those with infectious conjunctivitis should use their own washcloths and towels and not share these with anyone.

Will there be any permanent damage caused by conjunctivitis?

Most causes of conjunctivitis will clear without any complications.

What should make me worry about a red eye?

Any eye that has been red for more than a few days, is painful, is light sensitive, has a foreign body sensation, or blurred vision may have something more serious than just routine conjunctivitis. In cases like these, an examination by an ophthalmologist is indicated and encouraged.

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Allergic Conjunctivitis

Dr. Burke is one of Cincinnati’s most trusted resources concerning color blindness in children.

The term “color blindness” is confusing and inaccurate. “Color vision deficiency” is a more appropriate label and refers to the inability of a person to correctly distinguish certain colors. Although many people believe that anyone labeled “color blind” is only able to see colors of black and white, an individual with color vision deficiency confuses different shades of green and red.

Color vision deficiency is inherited through one of the mother’s “X” chromosomes. It is estimated that approximately 8% of men and 0.4% of women have this problem.

There are a few relatively easy tests to diagnose if one has a color vision deficiency. Children over the age of 3 are typically able to perform these tests. Unfortunately there is no cure for color blindness.

Since 8% of males, that is one out of every 12, have color vision deficiency, those children that have not mastered color matching should be tested before entering the educational system. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the teachers must be made aware of this disability as poorer performance in some activities would otherwise suggest a learning disability.

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