Many of us must have heard about the problem called lazy eye in children, but we may not be aware of what exactly the condition is, what to do about it and what is the treatment. I regularly see many patients in my practice suffering from the problem of lazy eye and who have not been treated properly probably because the condition was not diagnosed or there was a lack of understanding as to what the condition is and how to go about treating it. It is our duty as parents to be aware of the condition and take the necessary steps as advised by the ophthalmologist and under their guidance.
What the term lazy eye actually means is that the child’s eye for some reason is not developing in function as it should, the reason being lack of stimulation of the retina that is the part responsible for the vision of the eye due to certain medical conditions.
There are many reasons why lazy eye may occur in a child, few of them are the presence of an undiagnosed refractive error in the eye, squint, or congenital cataract. Treatment of all of the above-mentioned conditions is possible and hence treating lazy eye is quite possible.
Few steps that we need to take for children to be sure that they do not have any problems with the eyes are:
- Check vision in both eyes of your children by closing one eye alternately, and asking them to read numbers on a calendar at a distance of 5 to 6 metres.
- Make sure that the vision is equal in both eyes and that the child is not saying numbers from memory.
- If the child is unable to read or you find a discrepancy between the two eyes then take the child to an eye specialist.
- Try to see if there is a squint or a deviation of any of the eyes as the child looks straight at you. Another way to do this would be to take a picture of your child’s face by keeping the flashlight on in your mobile camera, the red reflex observed in both the eyes should be equal in intensity and shape. If any discrepancy is noted, then the child requires immediate ophthalmological examination by a specialist.
- See if there is any white spot in any eye of your child. If so visit to the doctor is recommended.
- Also, any complaints of inability to open the eyes in bright sunlight or complaints of inability to see what is written on the blackboard should not be ignored by parents, it requires immediate eye checkup.
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