Childhood is a time of rapid growth and change for the entire body, particularly for the eyes. A person’s sight undergoes critical developments in the early years, meaning parents must be extra-vigilant about their child’s eyesight during this time. One issue that can arise in young children is known as amblyopia – or “lazy eye.” In this case, one eye is strong while the other is weak, creating a harmful imbalance. EyeCare America recommends that parents get their child’s eyes checked by age four because early treatment is the most effective. Children who are treated before the age of nine are generally able to have better-restored vision than those who wait until their teenage years. It’s important to get the opinion of an ophthalmologist because it’s hard to detect a lazy eye (even the child may be unaware she has a problem).
If an imbalance is detected, the eye doctor may recommend one of several treatments, most of which are geared toward building strength in the weak eye. This may be done by having the child wear an eye patch over her good eye or even using drops to blur vision in her good eye. Both of these methods force the child to use her weak eye in order to regain strength and balance. While perhaps difficult at first, the payoff will be a lifetime of good vision. If you suspect your child may have a lazy eye, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your eye doctor. It’s always a good idea to get regular check-ups, and in case of a problem, your doctor can begin treatments early and effectively.