As parents, our kid’s health should be extremely important to us and if it is not then we should be asking ourselves why not! As an Optometrist I often find that whilst parents are extremely vigilant when it comes to their kid’s general health, the same cannot always be said of their eyes and vision. The reason for this is that a child may have visual problems but may not let you know. There could be a few reasons for this which are described below:
- They don’t realise: If your child is under the age of 5 then they may have problems with their vision but not really be aware of it, as that is what they have always known. Even more likely than this is that they have one good eye and one lazy eye and are therefore they are not actually aware of it. With both eyes open together your child is likely to see fine.
- They don’t want you to know!: The thought of wearing glasses for some children is their idea of hell. They may worry about being teased at school or they may be particularly into sport. Such a child may not tell you they have a problem with their vision before it is too late.
Why is it important to get my children’s eyes tested at a young age?
What exactly is a lazy eye?
Few people fully understand what a lazy eye is and the simplest way to explain it is to say that a lazy eye cannot see clearly even with glasses or contact lenses in. Beyond the age of 7 years old this is a permanent defect and no strength of glasses or contact lenses will help this eye. Lazy eyes can slow your child’s development down at school and also significantly affect their sporting achievements as good hand eye co-ordination requires both eyes to see equally. As part of your child’s Kids health checks, you should ensure their eyes are examined by an Optometrist once they are aged 3 – 4 years old.
How can a lazy eye be treated?
Providing you take your kids health seriously and get their eyes tested when they are young a lazy eye can generally be picked up and then treated pretty easily. If your child has a turn in their eye then generally speaking wearing glasses can eliminate this meaning both eyes are working together as they should. A small percentage of children with a turn in their eye may need surgical intervention which is obviously a bigger decision to make. If you child has a lazy eye as a result of one eye having a higher prescription than the other then generally speaking wearing glasses combined with occlusion therapy will cure the problem. Occlusion therapy (also called patching) effectively means covering over the good eye to make the lazy eye work harder for controlled periods of time. For most children this will strengthen that eye to the same level as the good eye. Contrary to what many people think laser eye surgery cannot correct a lazy eye.
In summary you should never forget your children’s vision when thinking about kids health. Having good vision is essential to your child to ensure they can compete at school and in sport without having any disadvantages to contend with. Article was provided by Tim Harwood a guest writer of ourfamilyworld.com.
About the author
Tim is an eye specialist in the UK who has seen the impact a lazy eye can have on the development of a child. He is a firm believer in being fully informed before you decide to have any form of treatment.