Some cases of blindness in children are due to the cataract in the eye that is present at birth in the child. Cataract is the condition in which the lens of the eye is clouded. It needs to be surgically corrected or it can lead to permanent blindness. Permanent damage to vision in a blind kid may be the result of retinal infections that harm the cells of retina beyond repair. Accidents or physical traumas may also result in permanent blindness, especially when the eyeballs are ruptured during the accident. Artificial eyeballs can be placed in the orbits of the blind kid but they are only for cosmetic purpose, i.e. not functional. Some causes of blindness can be treated, for example cataract, glaucoma, Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
Cataract is treated effectively via a simple kind of surgery in which the clouded lens of the eye is replaced by an IOL, i.e. intraocular lens made of transparent plastic. Special Presbyopia-correcting IOLs are available which help the child to see at all distances. Glaucoma is the name of a set of eye problems that gradually damage the optic nerve and slowly cause blindness. Almost all cases of glaucoma are associated with an abnormally high eye-pressure inside the eyeball. The treatment of glaucoma involves reducing the intraocular pressure and sometimes reducing the pressure of aqueous (fluid) in the eye. Treatment of glaucoma is usually gradual and includes oral medication and neuro-protective drugs. Surgery may also be performed in some cases. In case of Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), the retina is covered partially or completely by the abnormal growth of blood vessels or scar tissues. This condition is most frequently observed in some premature babies. Some babies suffering from ROP may not need any treatment at all as their problem is temporary. Others may have to go through laser or cryotherapy treatment to clear the retina and enable vision.
The development of a blind kid is adversely affected in more than one way. Not only is he/she physically limited in exploring his/her environment but also faces difficulty in social and intellectual development. It is important for parents or guardians of blind children to move their visually impaired kid around as much as possible while speaking to him about the places and objects in a descriptive way. Making the blind kid feel the shape of objects and their smell and size also helps him/her to learn about the physical reality of the surroundings. Special toys and educational material are available for blind kids and these help the visually impaired children to acquire many of the skills that are usually taught to normal kids.