If there is a big difference between your child’s eyes, one eye may do more work than the other. Over time, the less-used eye can become lazy, which is known as amblyopia. A squint occurs when the eyes do not work well together, and consequently one eye may appear to drift out or in, especially when your child is tired. This can lead to one eye working less well than the other.
Squint and lazy eye can be detected during an eye test. The optometrist will check each eye, and will also test how they work together. It is important to get your child’s eyes checked as a toddler. Detecting a lazy eye at this stage means that treatment will be as effective as possible as the eye is still developing.
If the optometrist thinks your child has a squint or lazy eye, they may be prescribed spectacles, which can help straighten a squint. Your child may also be referred to the hospital to see an orthoptist. The orthoptist may suggest ‘patching’; covering the better eye to encourage the lazy eye to work. They may prescribe exercises to help your child’s eyes work together. Some children may also be offered surgery to improve the way the eyes co-ordinate.
So, act now. Make sure your toddler gets a thorough eye examination at your local optical practice. Picked up early, squint and lazy eye can be treated so your child’s vision develops properly.