Lazy eye or amblyopia is a common childhood eye condition. It is a condition that occurs when the vision of one of your child’s eyes does not develop properly. If left untreated, this condition could cause your child’s vision to be permanently damaged because eventually, their brain will ignore the image being seen by the affected eye. When caught early, your child can receive treatment that will prevent permanent damage. Treatment may include wearing glasses or patching therapy.
Signs that Your Child Might Have a Lazy Eye
Amblyopia usually develops between birth and the age of seven. This condition can be caused by a muscle imbalance, a significant difference in vision between the two eyes, or an issue with one eye like having a cataract.
Common signs that your child might have a lazy eye include:
- One eye that wanders outward or inward
- Eyes that do not seem to work together
- Shutting or squinting one eye
- Poor depth perception
- Tilting of the head
Your child might not show any symptoms at all. This is where an eye exam is essential to rule out the possibility of the condition, especially if your child is at an increased risk of developing a lazy eye. Risk factors include:
- Premature or small size at birth
- A family history of amblyopia
- Developmental disabilities
When Should Children’s Eyes Be Examined?
Regular eye exams are the best way to determine whether your child has a lazy eye. Children, just like adults, should have eye exams performed by an eye doctor with the first comprehensive exam beginning at six months of age. The next exams should occur when the child is three and five years old. If your child does not need to wear glasses, they should have an eye exam at least every other year. Children who require vision correction should have an eye exam every year or as recommended by their eye doctor.
During a child’s eye exam, the doctor will check for signs that he or she may have amblyopia by checking to see that:
- Both eyes can see equally
- Both eyes move as they should
- There is nothing blocking light from coming into the eyes
Protect your child’s vision by scheduling their eye exam today. Contact Valley Eyecare at (602) 955-2700 or schedule their exam online.