Many minor eye problems in children remain undetected for several years simply because they are not taken for the free eye checks they are entitled to. Rather than having problems detected early by these tests children are not being taken to an optician until the minor problem has developed into a major one. One reason could be that the children don’t complain about their vision, or are not taken seriously by their parents, or it could that parents are unaware that their children are entitled to regular free eye test under the NHS.
Lazy eye symptoms or lazy eye signs are quite noticeable if you know what to look for; short-sightedness, squints and blurred vision are common lazy eye symptoms. Problems like lazy eye are going undiagnosed for several years; sometimes it takes the teacher at school to suggest to parents that their child is having difficulties with their vision before the parents will consider taking them to get their eyes checked. Teaching staff get a good sense of a child’s vision by observing behavior in class, how they respond to visual stimuli on the black board, observing how close they sit to a computer screen, or looking at the quality and presentation of their work, things that are not given much attention at home.
Delayed Academic Development
There is currently a screening program in place in UK schools that offers a basic eye test to children, however talks are underway with the government to lower the age at which screening starts to enable any problems to be picked up earlier in the child’s development, as if left undiagnosed and uncorrected, visual limitations can affect not only the educational development of the child but also limits their social development too.
What is a Lazy Eye and How is it Diagnosed?
Many parents ask what is a lazy eye? Really lazy eye is a generic term given to one eye that is not performing as well as the other; it could something as minor as a drooping or lazy eyelid on one eye to a severe visual impairment. What causes lazy eye exactly is not known for sure, but basically what causes lazy eye can be traced back to development in the womb. For some reason vision in one eye does not develop as well as it has in the other.
It can result in lazy eye symptoms like a squint as the child tries to continually get the lazy eye to focus and can place a strain on the good eye which is constantly trying to compensate for the poor vision in the other. Undiagnosed these lazy eye signs can lead to lifelong visual impairment that could have been corrected by prescription lenses. Many parents will ask are lazy eyes hereditary as they will remember their own issues as children, and they will be quite correct, it can be hereditary.
When Prescription Glasses are Necessary
The difference in vision between the individual eyes in a child suffering from lazy eye can be quite marked. While the good eye will be straining hard to compensate for the lazy one it will be relating clear images to the brain. The lazy eye however will be struggling to relay all of the visual information to the brain and will result in blurred vision. If a child is diagnosed as long sighted, everything up close will be blurred whereas those who are short sighted will have difficulty with seeing objects far away, these conditions can both be hereditary.
A child will rarely complain of having poor vision, after all they have never known anything different, which is why regular sight tests are recommended from an early age so that the correct lazy eye treatment like prescriptive lenses can be issued and the vision corrected. Lazy eye in children can be rectified quite successfully if identified early enough.
Corrective Treatments for Lazy Eye
Occasionally glasses alone will be enough lazy eye treatment, providing that they are worn continually, however occasionally the optician or ophthalmologist will recommend an eye patch is worn over the good eye for periods of time, this will limit the strain placed upon the good eye, and force the lazy eye to work harder thus improving the vision in that eye. Occasionally the patch can be affixed to the glasses, but however the eye patch is worn the glasses need to be worn continually as usual.
An alternative to the eye patch is a medicated eye drop as a form of lazy eye treatment, the drops blur the vision in the good eye, limiting and blurring the vision, again forcing the lazy eye into compensating and trying harder. Unlike other visual impairments lazy eye surgery is rarely needed as lazy eye correction can be achieved by less invasive means.