Help, I think my child has a lazy eye!
Do your child’s eyes appear to be misaligned? Find out what to do when your child develops the symptoms of a lazy eye.
Lazy eye (which is also known as amblyopia) is a common childhood condition that happens when the vision in one eye does not develop properly. It is estimated that 1 in 50 children will get lazy eye symptoms during the early years.
Kids with a lazy eye usually have problems judging the distance between them and an object accurately. One sure way to look out for this is when they struggle to catch a ball that is thrown at them.
Lazy eye develops when the nerve pathways between the brain and the eye are not properly stimulated. This can be due to various eye problems, including a squint (when the eyes don’t look in the same direction) or a difference in the quality of vision between the eyes (e.g. if one eye is short-sighted).
If left untreated, this can lead to a permanent vision loss in the affected lazy eye.
Depending on the cause and severity of your child’s lazy eye condition, here are some treatment options that are commonly used:
1. Corrective eyewear
For some children, their lazy eye condition is caused by mild eye problems such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism. For cases like these, your eye doctor will usually prescribe corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses to treat the squint.
You can then head down to your favourite optical store to get the prescription eyeglasses for your child so that he/she can get on with the day-to-day activities with a clear vision.
2. Eye patches
To stimulate the weaker eye, your child may need to wear an eye patch over the stronger eye. Most children aged 4 and above will benefit from having the patch on 3-6 hours a day. Wearing the eye patch helps the part of the brain that controls the vision to develop more completely.
3. Eye drops
Atropine eye drops can be applied daily or twice a week to temporarily blur vision in the stronger eye. This will encourage your child to use his/her weaker eye, and is an alternative to wearing an eye patch over the stronger eye.
Do note that atropine eye drops may not work as well if the stronger eye is near-sighted.
In some cases, surgery can help to improve the appearance of a squint. The operation will either strengthen or weaken the muscles of the lazy eye to stimulate it to change position. This helps the lazy eye to be better aligned with the good eye.
Now you and your family can look forward to clear, healthy vision. Be sure to drop by Nanyang Optical for an eye checkup, and get a free pair of frames and extra gifts when you purchase Zeiss lenses.
Visit the nearest Nanyang Optical store to find out more!