As parents, we learn to identify the signs that our children aren’t feeling well rather quickly. The sniffles could be a warning that a cold is on the way, and complaints of a sore throat could mean a case of strep throat. But when it comes to our kids and the health of their eyes, it’s not always easy to know what to look for. That’s why we were grateful to see an article in American Family Physician, which sheds light on a condition that affects thousands of little eyes each year.
Amblyopia, according to the article, is the leading cause of vision loss among our youth. This condition is often known as “lazy eye” and involves a “loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem,” as the American Optometric Association (AOA) explains. Typically, this condition develops in children under the age of six and often results from the body’s failure to be able to properly use both eyes together.
When children suffer from amblyopia, affected eyes send an image that is blurred to the brain. And as the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus shares, the brain then “’learns’ to only see blurry with that eye, even when glasses are used.” If left untreated, a child can develop a severe visual impairment or become legally blind in the affected eye(s).
So what are some signs and symptoms of amblyopia that you can be on the lookout for? Here are a few as outlined by All About Vision and the AOA:
– Crossed eyes or an obvious eye misalignment
– Favoring one eye
– A tendency to walk or bump into objects on one side of the body
– Crying or fussing when one eye is covered
If you spot any of these signs, it’s time to schedule an appointment for an eye exam. All About Vision recommends scheduling an appointment with either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist that specializes in children’s eye health. Doctors will perform specific screenings and exams to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and a treatment regimen. Amblyopia treatments can include patching, atropine eye drops, and certain strategies designed to stimulate development of the affected eye (American Family Practice). Treatments are generally determined by the child’s age and severity of the case, among other factors.
Have any of your children suffered from amblyopia? If so, share your experience with us in a comment below.
And don’t forget to be mindful of how the sun can negatively impact the health of your child’s eyes, too. Visit Real Kids Shades to check out our line of stylish kids’ sunglasses designed to protect those little eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays!