Stefano Gambaro: early exams also for children

Many eye diseases can occur during infancy

World Sight Day 2012 placed special attention on children, as underscored by the title of the conference held in Palazzo Giureconsulti, Milan: "occhio al nonno, occhio al nipote" (a watchful eye on grandparents and grandchildren).


At the conference, Dr. Stefano Gambaro (Istituti Clinici Perfezionamento) spoke about them and also talked about amblyopia and, more generally, children's diseases.


Amblyopia is a disease that occurs in early childhood. Can we talk about problem-prevention also in this case? When answering this question, Gambaro reiterated that
"amblyopia is understood to be reduced vision acuity, generally in only one eye, caused by the obstruction of normal sensory input (for example, a serious vision defect, myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism), which can be totally or partially resolved with appropriate and early treatment. In the light of this definition, it is clear that screening for this disease is of real value in the ophthalmological field. It follows that proper eyesight tests must be carried out early in order to detect the presence of amblyopia".


Apart from this, what other diseases are most frequent in children and which ones could seriously damage eyesight?
"Serious eye disorders during infancy that could lead to sight problems" – Dr. Gambaro explained – "include congenital cataract (1 out of 5,000 newborns) and congenital glaucoma (1 out of about 10,000 newborns). There are other eye diseases that are typical of childhood and either they are part of a general pattern of congenital diseases or they occur as a single manifestation of a congenital disease. Also to be taken into account are infantile eye disease patterns linked to infections transmitted by the mother during pregnancy. Moreover, some childhood diseases are systemic (for example, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) and can also affect the eyes, with patterns of considerable impact and complexity".