The medical term for “Lazy eyes” is Amblyopia. Amblyopia can develop in a child’s eye at a very young age and if left untreated, can lead to permanent loss of visual function in one or even both eyes. Although it sounds really scary, it is not a very common condition. However, due diligence is advised when it comes to your child’s vision. Please do get them tested and monitored by a paediatric doctor.
What causes “Lazy eyes”?
“Lazy eyes” can be caused by 2 main factors
- Strabismus – This is a condition where one or both the eyes are turning outwards or crossing inwards. This is caused by improper eye muscle co-ordination. When the two eyes are not sending co-ordinated visual signals to the brains, the brain is forced to choose one and “shut” the other one down. This causes the loss of visual stimulus needed for that “shut” down eye to properly develop.
- Anisopmetropia – This is a condition where the difference in prescription in both eyes could be so great that the brain decides to “shut” down the weaker eye. This causes the weaker eye to get even weaker with the loss of visual stimulus.
How to prevent “Lazy eyes”?
The most important step to ensure your child doesn’t develop “lazy eyes” is to make sure your child gets a vision screening done from 1 year old onwards from a qualified paediatric eye doctor.
If you notice any abnormal turning of your child’s eyes, seek professional help as soon as possible.
How to treat “Lazy eyes”?
There are two common forms of treatments for “Lazy eyes”
- Patching – The doctor will prescribe the child to wear a patch over the non-amblyopic eye. This has to be done for a couple of hours at a time. This forces the amblyopic eye to engage in visual tasks. By doing so, the new stimulus will force the brain to redevelop the visual functions of that eye. After some time both eyes will be able to function well.
There is one disadvantage to this technique and that is the need for the child to wear this patch over his/her eye for a couple of hours every day. Non compliance and self-esteem issues must be managed properly during the treatment phase.
- Atropine Eye Drops – Usually the Doctor will prescribe a drop of atropine to be placed in the “good” eye of the child which causes temporary visual blur in that eye thus forcing the weaker eye to redevelop its visual functions. This method will eliminate the risk of incompliance and self-esteem issues.
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