If your child’s brain is favoring one eye for sight over another, your child is dealing with a condition known as lazy eye. While the brain is busy favoring one eye, that eye becomes stronger than the other. As a result, your child may have blurred vision and difficulty seeing out of the weaker eye. Corrective lenses alone are not able to treat a lazy eye, because it’s cause lies within the brain.
Lazy eyes can be difficult to diagnose, especially in younger children who may not be able to recognize that they are experiencing blurry vision. For this reason, it is important that parents take their children to the ophthalmologist on a regular basis. Your child’s eye doctor will be able to perform the proper eye exams to determine whether a child has a lazy eye, and then decide on the best course of treatment.
The most common treatment for lazy eye is to patch the stronger eye. This patching will force the lazy eye to work harder and will help to strengthen the connection between the brain and the eye. This patching is done under the supervision of an eye doctor, and most children will need to patch their eye for two to six hours a day until they are able to see properly out of both eyes.
This method is most effective for children under the age of six. However older children may also benefit from patching treatment. Your pediatric ophthalmologist would be able to determine the benefit for each individual child.
Kids should be examined:
- At birth as part of the neonatal physical examination in the hospital.
- At 3 ½ years old in the pediatrician’s office. Vision will be evaluated by using a picture type eye chart.
- At 5 years old. This will be done either in the pediatrician’s office or at school.
- Further screenings are performed at routine medical check-ups, school checks or after the appearance of symptoms.
- Patients should be evaluated by a pediatric ophthalmologist as soon as ocular misalignment is suspected. Earlier treatment is essential for better results and success, especially in children. If diagnosis and treatment is delayed, amblyopia leading to permanent vision loss may occur.