Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)

About Lazy Eye:

Lazy eye is an eye condition where one eye is weaker than the other. It occurs in children and usually affects only one eye. This “lazy” eye looks normal, but has poorer vision.

The symptoms of the lazy eye are:

  • One eye deviates inward or outward
  • Both eyes do not work together
  • Closing one eye to focus
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Abnormal head posture

In some cases, symptoms are hard to notice. All children should get a complete eye exam between the ages of 2-5. Early treatment is the only way to stop the lazy eye from getting weaker.

Does my child have lazy eye?

Lazy eye can be hard to notice. Visit your child’s eye doctor if their eyes wander or point in different directions. Regular vision checkups are also important if:

  1. Family history of spectacle wear
  2. You have a family history of lazy eye
  3. Your child has had cataract, eyelid drooping, squint or other eye conditions.
  4. Your child is a premature baby

One way to check for lazy eye is by covering each eye, one at a time. Your child will become reluctant when you cover their good eye, but not the lazy eye. If so, this could be a sign that one eye is weaker than the other.

Treatment Options

Lazy eye can be reversed if it is detected and treated early. However, the longer it goes untreated, the weaker the lazy eye gets. Eventually, vision loss in the weaker eye cannot be reversed.

The best treatment is to make your child use their lazy eye.  Patch therapy is a treatment where one eye is covered to encourage the use of the weaker eye. It is most effective in helping young children strengthen an under-developed eye. The earlier the treatment begins, the stronger the weaker eye becomes. This is commonly used to treat lazy eye and squint.

In both cases, one eye is weaker than the other. The patch covers the good eye, forcing the child to use the weaker eye. In this way, the weaker eye becomes stronger.

What to Expect: About Patch Therapy

  • Wearing the patch can be very uncomfortable. If your child wears spectacles, put the patch on before the glasses. The patch should be stuck on the face, not the glasses.
  • The edge of the patch should be carefully sealed so the good eye is completely blocked.
  • As an alternative, homemade patches / special glasses can be used instead of a patch in older children
  • Patching schedules should be strictly followed.
  • Young children may initially resist wearing the patch. Hence, start with short periods of time and slowly increase the timings for better results.
  • During patching: Older children should read and younger children should play fun games/eye exercises.
  • Your child will start accepting the patch when vision improves in the weaker eye.
  • Regular follow-up visits are a must.

Side Effects:

Patch therapy is very safe and has no side effects.