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Red Reflex in Children

red eyes

Why does my youngest sons eyes often reflect red in photos?
Sometimes my own eyes do this, as well as our older son but it is more frequent with the littlest. I have always wondered why the red pupils occur in photos w/ both kids, so thanks for entertaining my question!

 

The red reflex that ruins your pictures is actually the individuals retina. Healthy retinas reflect red. As we age our pupils slowly decrease in size. Younger children typically have larger pupils are therefore more likely to reflect red light. I’m betting your younger son has larger pupils most of the time.

red eyes in children

Many things (other than age) can affect an individual pupil size including emotional state and medications.

We pediatricians check for red reflexes frequently in the first two years of life. While extraordinarily rare, young children can develop retinoblastoma a congenital eye tumor. You may notice me turn off the light to dilate (make bigger) the patients pupils which helps check for healthy red reflexes.

 

 

Written July, 2011 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician

 

 

 

 

 

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