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This blog is going to be on Paediatric Keratoconus.

After the epidemic, there has been an explosion of keratoconus in the paediatric age group. before we go into the details about this problem a few words of explanation about keratoconus, is important.

Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea becomes conical resulting in the reduction of vision, glare& ghosting. while it was a disease of puberty and adolescence, recently the increase in screen time during the pandemic has resulted in children as young as 5 years showing early to advanced keratoconus.

This becomes a major problem because the child is unable to communicate the visual disturbance which can result in the progression of the disease process. It can also present asymmetrically which may result in the child being unaware of visual disturbance when seeing with both eyes and ultimately lead to amblyopia or lazy eye. Utmost vigilance is therefore important both from the parents and the teachers.

One of the most typical reasons for the sudden increase in keratoconus is the increased screen time and resultant dry eye. The itching and burning in dry eye prompt the children to rub their eyes vigorously. This results in the weakening of the stromal collagen fibrils with resultant bulge and irregular corneal astigmatism with the reduction in vision and ghosting and glare.

While this condition is treatable in the early stages with a simple procedure called collagen crosslinking, in advanced stages only corneal transplantation helps.

So the points to emphasise are

  1. Reduce screen time
  2. Make it a routine to take your children for eye check-ups once a year
  3. Watch out for eye rubbing
  4. Use drops for dry eye or allergy to reduce the itching

These points are very important to stop a severe visually debilitating disease from affecting your children which can interfere with their academics and their future job opportunities.

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