Caring for Children and Infants with Pediatric and Neonatal Retinal Disorders

May 14, 2016 @ 10:00 AM — by Retina Associates, P.A.

Mother pointing out an object for her young daughterThe physicians at Retina Associates, P.A. are dedicated to treating conditions affecting the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissues at the back of the eye. The retina is responsible for sensing light and sending signals to the brain so that images can be processed. Retinal disorders impair the function of the retinal tissue and often affect a person’s vision. In severe cases, retinal disorders may even cause blindness. Many of the most common forms of retinal disorders, such as macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, and retinal detachment, are primarily thought of as conditions that affect adults. However, children and infants can also suffer from retinal disorders. Our team of doctors can diagnose and treat pediatric and neonatal retinal disorders at our Kansas City practice so that vision can be preserved.

Types of Pediatric and Neonatal Retinal Disorders

There are many retinal disorders that can affect infants and children. Just as in adults, these disorders can negatively affect vision, and may even cause blindness. Below are some of the most common types of pediatric and neonatal retinal disorders:

  • Retinopathy of prematurity: Retinopathy of prematurity is a condition that may affect babies that are born prematurely. Retinal blood vessels do not develop completely until the ninth month of pregnancy. In most cases, even if a baby is premature, these vessels will continue to develop normally. However, in some premature babies, abnormal blood vessels develop and lead to detachment of the retina.
  • Coats’ disease: Coats’ disease is a rare congenital disorder that is characterized by the abnormal development of blood vessels behind the retina. This condition results in full or partial blindness.
  • Retinoblastoma: Retinoblastoma is a rare form of cancer that begins in the retina. This disease primarily affects children, although adults may also suffer from this disease.
  • Retinal detachment: Retinal detachment in children is rare, but it can occur. Some common causes of retinal detachment include an eye or head injury, certain eye diseases, and diabetes.

These are just some of the retinal disorders that may affect infants and children.

Symptoms of Retinal Disorders

Infants and children may not see an eye doctor regularly, so it is important to understand the symptoms of retinal disorders so that an appointment can be scheduled if any of these symptoms do develop. While each condition is unique, below are some common symptoms of pediatric and neonatal retinal disorders:

  • Complete or partial loss of vision
  • Floaters in the line of vision
  • Appearance of flashing lights
  • Light sensitivity
  • A white pupil

Children may have a difficult time expressing some of these symptoms, so it is important to pay attention to any clues that may point to a retinal disorder.

Diagnosing and Treating Retinal Disorders

A full ophthalmologic examination is required to diagnose retinal disorders. This will involve dilating the eyes so that the retina can be examined. In certain cases, additional tests may be necessary. Tests may include retinal photography, a CT scan of the orbit, an ocular coherence tomography (OCT), or an ultrasound of the eye.

Once a retinal disorder is diagnosed, our doctors will discuss treatment. Treatment of pediatric and neonatal retinal disorders varies greatly and will be dependent on the condition that is present. Each patient will learn more about their treatment options once a diagnosis is made.

Schedule an Appointment

If you suspect that your child is suffering from a pediatric or neonatal retinal disorder, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physicians at Retina Associates, P.A. to learn more about diagnosis and treatment.

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