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Surgeon, Dr. Kunle Hassan On Why It Is Important For Kids & Adults To See An Ophthalmologist Once A Year

Surgeon, Dr. Kunle Hassan On Why It Is Important For Kids & Adults To See An Ophthalmologist Once A Year

A physician has revealed why it is important for children to see an Ophthalmologist yearly. According to the Ophthalmic Surgeon, Dr. Kunle Hassan, kids are exposed to mobile devices and computers, and this exposure can cause myopia (short-sightedness).

The expert says myopia is one of the most common vision problems in childhood, noting that a child with myopia may develop sight-threatening complications and permanent visual impairment that may affect the child’s social, educational and psychological development.

Hassan, who is the medical director, Eye Foundation Group and member, International Council of Ophthalmology, in an interview with PUNCH Healthwise, said children are increasingly coming down with the eye ailment, especially in Nigeria and urged parents to monitor and regulate the amount of time their children spend in front of a screen. He said:

“Children are often prone to eye ailments like refractive errors that include myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism or mixed.

“However, there seems to be an increase in myopia, which has been attributed to increased use of tablets, computers and cell phones.

“Instead of always allowing them continued access to mobile phones and other devices, they should be encouraged to play outside and engage in other activities.” 

According to Cincinnati Children’s Blog, an online medical portal, Myopia is one of the most common vision problems in childhood. It notes that about nine per cent of children between the ages of five to 17 are nearsighted. It added:

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“Kids with this condition can usually see things close up, but struggle to see things far away. It is often diagnosed around first or second grade when they struggle to see the board in class.

“While a diagnosis of myopia might not sound serious, it’s important to treat it with corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses) as soon as possible.

“Not doing so can put kids at risk for serious vision-related conditions later in life.

On how to identify myopia in children at an early stage, Dr. Hassan says:

“When a child starts squinting, tilts the head when reading or watching television, frequently rubs the eyes, blinks excessively, has teary eyes, complains of headaches from eye strain, complains of eye tiredness or double vision, parents must take the child to see an ophthalmologist.” 

He advised parents to ensure their children eat a balanced diet, noting that deficiencies in certain vitamins can affect the eye. The eye specialist also said a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of eye health problems.

“Food rich in Vitamin A is good for the eye. Essentially a combination of food that contains fruits and vegetables are important for the eye,” he said.

According to Medical News Today, taking lots of water, food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamins E and C are essential for good sight.

Hassan who is also a past president, Africa Ophthalmology Council, said it is important for children and adults to see an ophthalmologist once a year for an eye examination.

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He called for more attention to be focused on ocular awareness, noting that people need to know more about their eyes, how to care for them and what to do should issues arise.

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“Many people feel that as long as they can see, nothing is wrong with their eyes. We know this is not true. A Patient can have good eyesight and still have glaucoma.

“Early detection and treatment are so important to avoid lifelong visual impairments. 

“There should be appropriate visual assessment help to identify children who may benefit from early interventions to correct or improve vision.

“Examination of the eyes and visual system should begin in the nursery and continue throughout both childhood and adolescence.

“Generally, early treatment for eye health problems can prevent them from getting worse.

“So people who notice changes in their vision should schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist or ophthalmologist,” he advised.

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