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How to Find Out If Your Child Has a Lazy Eye

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Our eyes start to develop from the minute we are born, evaluating and processing all the strange new shapes and colours we see in our new world. The first 4 years of our children’s life is the most important in terms of vision development and it is for this reason that it is important to get your children’s eye’s tested as early as possible.

By the time our children reach 7 years old their eye’s are fully developed. If a child is first found to have a lazy eye aged 7 years or older then there is nothing that can be done about it. The most important thing to remember about a lazy eye is that no matter what glasses / contact lenses the child wears, the vision will still be significantly worse than the good eye. The two most common causes of lazy eye are as follows:

Strabismus: This is the scientific name for a turn in the eye and the eye that is affected will not have properly developed vision. If this is picked up early enough an operation or glasses could correct the turn in the eye and help vision to develop properly.

Strong prescription in eye: If one eye has no glasses prescription but the other eye has a strong prescription, this eye will not develop properly. Wearing glasses from a young age can prevent a lazy eye from developing.

What signs should you look out for?

The following lists the most likely signs your child could have a lazy eye:

Turn in the eye: If the turn in the eye is big enough, you may be able to see it with the naked eye. It is most likely to happen at the end of the day or after prolonged concentration on a task such as reading or computer.

Closing one eye: Your child may close the weak eye when they are trying to read something.

Poor co-ordination: Your child may be poor at sports particularly those ones that involve hand eye coordination such as tennis or catching a ball.

Problems reading: If you child has a lazy eye they may not be as quick at reading as other children as they will effectively only be using one eye.

Problems with 3D vision: Your child is likely to have no/poor 3D vision which could be picked up if you went to see a 3D film at the cinema.

If you suspect your child may have a lazy eye it is important that you take them to see an optometrist as soon as possible. As long as you get your child seen quickly enough, the chances are that it will be possible to improve the lazy eye although it is unlikely to ever be as strong as the good eye.

Contrary to what some people think, laser eye surgery can not correct a lazy eye and the most likely method that will be used is controlled patching of the good eye to make the lazy eye stronger. The best advice I would give to any parents however is that regardless of whether or not you think your child has any problems with their vision, you should take them to the opticians as soon as they are old enough.