Pediatric ophthalmology - What diseases are there?

It is not uncommon for children to suffer from various problems with their eyes. Diseases are anything but rare in this area. Many of them are of a rather harmless nature, which disappear again on their own after a certain time. Nevertheless, they should be examined and treated professionally. But which diseases in the area of the eyes do children keep coming back to? A brief summary of the most common problems:

  • Hordeolum, chalazion and other affections of the conjunctiva
  • Affections of the lacrimal apparatus
  • Various organic eye diseases
  • Visual impairment, blindness and other disorders of the retina
  • visual disturbances
  • Squinting (strabismus), nystagmus (eye shakiness), eye movement disorders
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Accommodation disorders and ametropia such as farsightedness (hyperopia), nearsightedness (myopia), astigmatism

Ametropia is particularly common at a young age. They are also known under the technical term “ametropia”. Unfortunately, they are rarely noticed by the child himself or the parents. Unexpected nearsightedness or farsightedness can have serious effects on the visual system of the little one. A distinction is made between:

1) Myopia

With nearsightedness, the person can see well at short distances but blurry at a distance.

2) Farsightedness

With long-sightedness, the person can see well at long distances, but is blurry at close range.

3) Astigmatism

People with astigmatism have blurred vision both near and far.

4) Poor eyesight

Ametropia is a problem with the development of vision in children, in which one eye performs less well than the other.

What are the causes of eye diseases in children?

Also quite common in children is conjunctivitis, which is known as conjunctivitis. Symptoms include a mucous inflammation of the conjunctiva that covers the eye. Children are still developing their immune systems. They are accordingly more susceptible to germs of all kinds. Even exhaust fumes, smoke from cigarettes and smoke can be causes of conjunctivitis in children.

Another disease that is found more frequently, especially in children, is lacrimal duct inflammation. The job of the ducts is to allow tears to flow through the nose. Around 6 out of 100 babies receive the diagnosis from the doctor: lacrimal duct obstruction. As a result, a visibly watery eye can be seen. The reason for this is, among other things, the narrowing or closure of a thin membrane. Normally, this recedes a few days after birth, but should still be taken seriously.

Squinting in itself is only considered a disease by at least one. However, “strabismus” also occurs in children. When squinting, the eyes generally show a different direction of gaze. The disorder itself can develop shortly after birth. If there is even the slightest doubt, those affected should contact a doctor directly. The whole thing starts with training and can be covered for up to 12 more years.

What are the symptoms of children with an eye disease?

The symptoms of an eye disease, especially in children, can be very different. Mostly, however, their illnesses are associated with tears and reddening. Depending on the case, even swelling can occur and even negatively affect vision. Not to forget pus and fever. If these symptoms occur in connection with an eye disease, a doctor should be consulted immediately on the same day.

How to treat eye diseases in children

All of the above eye diseases in children can be treated in different ways by a doctor. Here are the procedures for the most common diseases:


As already mentioned, conjunctivitis in children can be triggered by various things. But mostly it is smoke coming from cigarettes. Unnecessary smoke and strong winds can also cause this. So that inflammation does not occur in the first place, it is recommended to avoid the causes mentioned above as much as possible. Parents can also prevent this by washing their hands more frequently and immediately after contact. Eye drops and rinsing with boiled water make secretions disappear.

Lacrimal duct inflammation

Inflammation of the lacrimal sac can lead to severe pain. Rinsing of the tear ducts is possible in principle. However, only when a first opening spontaneously appears. Especially in children, the tear ducts can be examined here for two years under general anesthesia. However, the treatment is considered rare.


Squinting, on the other hand, can last for different lengths of time. Doctors track and treat the disease based on the child’s age. An occlusion is also conceivable, but this does not restore the parallelism of the eyes.

Don't wait too long to see an ophthalmologist

Tanja Schmückle Meier


Seit Feb 2024 Teilzeitpensum Seeaugenpraxis Horgen
1998-heute breites Erfahrungsspektrum mit Patienten aller Altersgruppen durch orthoptische, wissenschaftliche sowie administrative Tätigkeiten und Weiterbildungen in verschiedenen Augenarztpraxen in den Kantonen Zug und Zürich sowie am Universitätsspital Zürich
1995-1998 Ausbildung zur Orthoptistin am Kantonsspital St. Gallen
1994 Abitur in München