The weight and height of your child are being tracked and documented over time by pediatricians. The purpose of this is to see the growth pattern of your child and if it is growing healthy. If a child is shorter than 97% of children who are the same age, they may be prescribed growth hormone therapy. It is also a common treatment for hormonal deficiencies and genetic diseases like Turner and Prader-Willi syndromes.
As well as other therapy, growth hormone therapy has side effects but it is rare. The previous research showed the side effects such as headache, nausea, and joint inflammation present in fewer than 5% of children undergoing growth hormone therapy.
On the other side, it is safe to use growth hormone therapy. The therapy can affect your eyes by speeding up the progression of myopia or nearsightedness and it may increase the fluid pressure around your brain.
How Growth Spurts Can Speed Up Myopia
The length of the eye is affected when there is a surge of growth hormone for the body. If children are diagnosed with nearsightedness or myopia, they have an eye that is longer than normal. If the growth is quick, there is a faster change in refractive error. Children do not have fully developed eyes wherein vision development comes with as they age.
Be reminded that growth hormone is not the cause of nearsightedness, it just contributes to speeding up existing vision problems. These are the hidden signs of vision problems in kids that you may look out for:
- Things that look blurry in a far distance
- Squinting to see clearly
- Watches or views the computer or television inches closer
- A child who wears an eyeglass but they feel that it does not work with them
Schedule an eye exam as soon as you notice these changes or if your child has any complaints about their vision. These may indicate a new prescription.
How Growth Hormone Increases the Fluid Pressure Around the Brain
An increased fluid pressure around the brain or known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension may be associated with growth hormone therapy but it is a rare event. The statistic says that it is one out of every 1,000 children who are under therapy.
It is dangerous to have intracranial hypertension because it can cause your optic nerve to swell and may cause vision loss. Sudden frequent headaches, nausea, vomiting, headaches that are worse at night, whooshing sounds in the head, light sensitivity, and double vision are the warning signs to look out for.
If your child will go on growth hormone therapy, it is important to get a baseline eye evaluation before and have regular eye check-ups.