As parents, the joy being part of their child’s journey growing up and exploring the wonders of life only happens once in a lifetime. The eyes are the windows through which children perceive and explore the world, everything a child sees form a part of their experience which is why we want to talk about the importance of eye care.
A child’s visual development gradually progresses as they grow, they are not born with a 1.0 perfect vision. During early childhood development, amblyopia is the most common problem. Amblyopia, or commonly known as “lazy eyes”, usually occurs in one eye but may also occur in both. It is a visual disorder caused by delayed and disordered eyeball function development after the child is born. If you have a family history, developmental disorders, or a premature baby, the chance of developing lazy eyes is higher than other children.
Distinguishing myopia from lazy eye
Parents commonly confuse myopia with lazy eye. They often suspect that a large difference in refractive power is lazy eye or mistake lazy eye for myopia, thus end up getting their children a pair of glasses for correction leading to a delay in treatment which is best carried out when children are below 7 years old. Myopia is when you are unable to see distant objects clearly but have no issues with close objects. With lazy eye, normal vision cannot be achieved even with refractive correction such as wearing appropriate glasses.
It is not easy for parents to judge whether a child has lazy eye by simple observation. Especially pre-school children who are not yet good at expressing themselves, hence going through a vision examination is the best way to be sure. However, parents can pay more attention to abnormal behaviour of their children, which is helpful for early detection and treatment.
Have you noticed signs of your child’s lazy eye?
- Moving closer to near-sighted objects such as watching TV
- Squinting or tilting the head when looking at objects
- Often trips when walking
Unable to grasp or hold onto toys properly
- Unable to focus on objects or the eyes do not follow objects as they move
- Poor sense of distance judgement of objects
- Disinterest in toys or objects with bright colours
Lazy eye is far from being terminal, the key is early detection and treatment
The golden period of children’s vision development starts from newborn to 7 years old, and also the best time to treat amblyopia. The effects are far better when treatment begins at a younger age. Once the child’s visual development stabilizes, treatment becomes increasingly difficult and slow in showing effective improvements. In severe cases, it will cause permanent visual degradation. With current medical technologies, amblyopia is curable, and the most important thing is to deal with the patient’s eye problems, such as correcting the patient’s strabismus, astigmatism, hyperopia and other refractive errors, and then rebuilding the visual function by training the connection between the eye and the brain. The following is a brief explanation of lazy eye treatment options available in the market:
A traditional and effective treatment method suitable for children under 7 years old. By covering the healthy eye and forcing the use of the amblyopic eye to see things, the vision of the amblyopic eye can be gradually improved. This therapy is a protracted battle, requiring patient supervision of parents and perseverance of children.
2. Virtual Reality
By providing two different images to the patient’s eyes, the visual ability of the eyes can be adjusted and the difference in visual acuity of the eyes can be gradually reduced. This gamification method enhances the fun of training and overcomes the shortcomings of traditional visual training methods that are boring and difficult for children to persist.
When you discover that your child has poor eyesight, do not quickly jump to conclusions that it is myopia as it may also be lazy eye. It should be diagnosed early through regular eye examinations. If lazy eye is not treated in time, it will affect not only the child’s vision but their life. To create a “bright” future for your children, start with an eye examination!