A “lazy eye” in your son or daughter can be tricky to spot, but it is definitely something that you and your family eye doctor want to watch out for. A lazy eye (also known as “amblyopia”), if left untreated, can result in long-term problems.
How do I know if my child has a lazy eye?
Amblyopia is when one eye doesn’t see as well as the other eye. This is caused by a defective pathway between the brain and the weaker eye – over time, the brain starts to favor the stronger eye. The lazy eye may start to turn inward or outward. Vision may be decreased, and the child may also squint and tilt their head in an effort to try to see better, and they may have poor depth perception. The condition can run in families, which is why, if there is a history of lazy eye in your family, your child should see the eye doctor before they are 3 years old. It may also be the result of premature birth or a developmental disability.
A lazy eye often isn’t diagnosed until the child goes to an eye doctor – one more reason why visits to the eye doctor are important, especially if you think there may be a problem.
How is lazy eye treated?
Fortunately, once diagnosed, lazy eye is very treatable.
For older children, the doctor may recommend glasses or contacts, or even an eye patch over the stronger eye to make the weaker eye work harder. The eye patch might have to be worn all day or only for a couple of hours a day. If a cataract is causing the lazy eye, your doctor may recommend surgery.
For younger children (who might be constantly trying to take an eye patch off), eye drops can be used in the stronger eye to blur the vision. This forces the brain to depend on the weaker eye, which will make it grow stronger.
Make sure your children have their eyes checked often to determine if there are any problems, especially if something just doesn’t seem right. Call North Suburban Eye Associates in Massachusetts at (781) 245-5200!