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Ask Dr. Daniel Jewelewicz Your Own Question
Dr. Daniel Jewelewicz
Dr. Daniel Jewelewicz, Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11
Experience:  Glaucoma Specialist, Associate Professor FAU, Teaching Faculty Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
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My daughter has been winking her eyes (one at a time) for about

Resolved Question:

My daughter has been winking her eyes (one at a time) for about the past week. She (3 1/2 yrs. old) says that her eyes tickle right in the center of the eye and that's why she's doing it. She says they tickle a lot. Thoughts? Thanks!
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Daniel Jewelewicz replied 8 years ago.

Does your daughter display any signs of poor vision? Does she point to pictures in books, follow interesting objects, etc? Has she had her vision tested (usually done at the pediatrician)? Kids do all sorts of funny things and most are no cause for alarm - but they do need to be evaluated. First of all, are her eyes straight? Does one seem to wander to the side when she is tired? Do her eyes cross? These are signs of muscular imbalance in the eyes, called "strabismus" , and if you see these signs, you should take her to a pediatric ophthalmologist. This can be easily treated.

Also important: in pictures, does the pupil in both eyes (the center, black part of the eye) appear similar in both eyes? Often it is red on a flash photo, but is it equal on both sides? If one side appears white, this needs to be evaluated urgently. That could be a sign of a more serious problem.

Is her eye irritated or red? Surface irritation on the cornea can cause kids to close the irritated eye. Inflammation inside the eye can cause bright lights to be uncomfortable, so kids tend to close the affected eye.

Observe her for now - if she continues to do this, or complains that she does not see well, take her to a pediatric ophthalmologist. I hope this helps!



Please note that this forum is for general advice only - it is not a substitute for an eye exam by a licensed professional. It is not possible to accurately diagnose or treat any medical condition without a complete history and exam.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Hello Dr. Jewelewicz,


She just had an exam (eyes included) about 3 weeks ago. She doesn't have any issue reading or anything; her eyesight appears to be fine. Her eyes don't wander. Again, it's in both eyes, not just one. She says they do not hurt, they do not itch, they just tickles. Her eyes aren't red. Even though she's only 3 1/2, I've asked her the same question "what's wrong with your eyes" on 4 separate occasions and the answer is the same. They tickle a lot and it's right in the center of each eye. So, I was more interested in a response that addressed what kinds of issues could appear in both eyes. If you could provide further insight, I would appreciate it. Thanks!



Expert:  Dr. Daniel Jewelewicz replied 8 years ago.
You have done all the right things. Her vision is normal and her eyes are straight. You just ruled out the most common things we consider in pediatric patients. Dry eye would be unusual in a child her age, but possible, I suppose. Not at all dangerous, but may provide an answer. My daughter also described many strange things when she was that age (she still does, and she is 10 now). I solved that problem by bringing home artificial tears, which you can obtain OTC at any pharmacy. If she will let you give her an eye drop (show her in your own eye first - artificial tears don't hurt at all. They are very soothing), try this and see if it takes the "tickle" away. My daughter still asks me to put drops in her eyes sometimes! I do this often in pediatric patients, and often just the act of acknowledging the issue and addressing it, resolves it. Good luck!
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