How to recognise and treat lazy eye

Lazy eye

Lazy eye, medically referred to as Amblyopia, is a condition that affects approximately 1 in every 50 children in the UK. Usually, it develops before a child turns eight years of age when their vision is still developing. However, it can be difficult to spot.

Amblyopia can be caused by an uncorrected refractive error, Strabismus (eye misalignment) or when the vision is obscured by cataracts or another condition.

If you are concerned your child may have a lazy eye, here you’ll discover some of the key signs to watch out for.

Common signs of a lazy eye

Understanding the symptoms of a lazy eye can help to catch the condition early. Here’s some of the most common signs of a lazy eye to pay attention to…

Asymptomatic – Often, if there is no visible abnormality to the eye there will be no symptoms. Therefore, it is very important that every child has their free NHS eye test with an optometrist. Generally, this should be fine at the age of 4-5 years or reception year in school.

Difficulty reading – If your child refuses to read, or has a hard time reading, it could be a sign of a lazy eye. They may lose their place easily, add words into the sentence, or have to consistently re-read words.

A lazy eye requires more focus when reading. This can cause the eyes to become fatigued and can prove stressful for your child. Of course, difficulty with reading can also be a sign of other conditions such as dyslexia. Therefore, it is difficult to diagnose the condition from this symptom alone.

Frequently rubbing, squinting, or closing one eye – When your child is outside on a bright sunny day, do they squint, rub or regularly close one eye? This could indicate that one of their eyes is weaker than the other one.

Accident prone – Children with a lazy eye can have difficulties with depth perception. This can cause them to fall over frequently and become accident prone. It can also make it difficult to play sports and keep up with peers.

Turning their head to one side – Amblyopia tends to only impact one eye. When watching TV or paying attention to something, your child may turn their head to one side in order to see better through their more dominant eye.

If you suspect your child may have a lazy eye based upon these symptoms, it’s time to seek a medical diagnosis. If it is confirmed, there are some great effective treatments available that can help.

What are the treatment options for lazy eye?

There are several treatment options to help combat a lazy eye including spectacles, patching and atropine drops.

They are designed to build on eye-brain connections. This in turn helps to boost key visual skills that are required for binocular vision (using both eyes simultaneously to see clearly).

Both patches and eye drops are used to cover or blur the good eye. This causes the lazy eye to work harder, building up strength and improving vision.

In some cases, surgery may be required. This can be carried out to strengthen or weaken the eye muscles to improve binocularity. It is performed under general anaesthetic as a day case in most instances. Mr Jawaid can offer strabismus surgery using adjustable sutures as well as small-incision (fornix) squint surgery.

A lazy eye is easily treatable, but it can cause the loss of vision in the eye if it is left untreated. To find out which treatment option is right for your child, book a consultation with Mr Jawaid today.