MV: Why did you choose to specialize in paediatric ophthalmology?
Dr. Omondi Nyongo : I loved developmental physiology and neuroscience especially the development of vision. My focus was understanding vision loss in growth. I take care of kids who have eye problems.
MV: What eye problems are common in kids?
Dr. Omondi Nyongo : Squinting or misalignment of the eye.
Cataracts Lazy eye. This is a misnomer – It actually refers to a lazy brain where the eyes don’t get clear images. All babies are born “blind” in the sense that you have to learn to see by having a visual experience. At first we all have extremely hazy and blurry vision.
MV: My parents wear glasses. Does that mean I will too? Are eye problems hereditary?
Dr. Omondi Nyongo : No, they are not- most are environmental.
MV: What is the common therapeutic intervention?
Dr. Omondi Nyongo: Most vision problems are corrected by glasses. I take a history, identify a problem then after doing an investigation, glasses are the pills for eyesight problems in kids.
MV: How do glasses work?
Dr. Omondi Nyongo : Glasses focus light more accurately so that the eye can see clearly. In many cases, the glasses focus more light on one eye so the brain learns to see out of that one eye and ignores the other eye. Glasses correct this, in effect ‘teaching’ the eyes to see properly.
MV: Why are more kids wearing glasses nowadays? Is it because of the environment or are more kids being born with more deformities?
Dr. Omondi Nyongo : Both eyes have the capacity to see adequately and equally, but it is the brain that needs to be taught to process the information and therefore “see” properly. You have to learn to see by having a visual experience. The main reason more kids wear glasses nowadays is that early detection of vision problems is now on the rise. Currently many adults who have misaligned eyes didn’t have a timely detection of eye problems as a child. They went to the eye doctor too late.