A lazy eye means that one eye can’t see as well as the other, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses.
If the cause is not treated before the age of 7 or 8, it is likely that the vision in the bad eye will be permanently impaired. Judging distances may be more difficult, and if anything happens to the good eye, the person may not have legal vision for driving.
Some causes include:
- The eyes not seeing the same image.
This happens if the eyes are looking in different directions, i.e. there is a turn in the eye. This is called strabismus. One eye may look as though it is turned. If both eyes are not looking at the same thing, the brain can’t fuse the two images, and will choose the image from one eye instead of using both eyes.
- One eye receiving a more blurry image than the other.
If one eye needs a stronger prescription than the other, the vision in this eye will be more blurred. The brain will choose the image from the clearer eye. Because the weaker eye is not being used, the visual system in the weaker eye may not develop properly.
Get your child’s eyes checked if you notice the following:
- A turn in the child’s eye, or the eyes seem to be looking in different directions.
- If a young child gets upset when you cover one of their eyes, this might mean that you’ve covered their good eye, and that they can’t see as well with the uncovered eye.
- They’re not performing well in school or their grades drop unexpectedly. This could be due to the fact that they may not be able to see the blackboard clearly.
The child may need to get glasses or sometimes have the eye patched. They’ll thank you for it when they’re older!