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Can Parents Spot Signs of Lazy Eye?

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Don’t let lazy eye cause problems for your child in school

Known officially as amblyopia, lazy eye occurs when one of your child’s eyes doesn’t develop properly. When left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision damage. So how can you know if your child has lazy eye? It’s simple. The best way to diagnose lazy eye is by booking a kids eye exam at Eagle Mountain Family Eye Care with our experienced Fort Worth, Texas, eye doctor.

Causes of lazy eye

This kids’ vision problem typically starts when one eye focuses better than the other. Sometimes, that’s because one eye is more farsighted or has more astigmatism than the other. Consequently, your child’s brain receives both a clear image and a fuzzy one. It begins to ignore the blurred images in favor of the sharp ones, and over time vision in the worse eye deteriorates further.

Sometimes, a child’s eyes are physically misaligned – one eye can turn in or out. This is termed strabismus, and it can also lead to amblyopia. Because of the misalignment, kids can’t team their eyes to focus together on an object, so they often see double. In order to clearly see and process visual information correctly, such as when learning to read in school, the brain ignores the images sent from the misaligned eye. As a result, vision in the lazy eye worsens.

Another cause of lazy eye can be because kids can’t see well out of one eye due to an abnormality that blocks light from getting through. A small amount of blood or other tissue in the back of the eye or a cataract could be the culprit.

Diagnosing lazy eye

A comprehensive, dilated eye exam in our Fort Worth, Texas, eye care center is the only reliable way to diagnose lazy eye. Because amblyopia cannot always be seen from the outside (in contrast to strabismus), this condition can sometimes be tricky for parents to notice, especially in young kids. Without having an eye doctor check visual acuity in both eyes, it’s difficult to confirm a diagnosis of lazy eye.

When kids can’t see clearly, school becomes a frustrating experience. To help prevent learning and behavioral problems in school, it’s essential to bring your child for a kids eye exam before starting elementary school. If amblyopia runs in your family, it’s important to tell the eye doctor.

The eye doctor will check that both eyes see equally well, each eye moves properly, and that nothing is blocking light from reaching the back of the eye.

Signs for parents to look for

Although the diagnosis of lazy eye can only be verified by a qualified eye care professional, there are a few clues for which parents should be on the lookout, such as:

  • Clumsiness – a child with lazy eye usually has trouble with depth perception, which affects coordination
  • Learning difficulties in school – sometimes, a child who is having problems learning to read or write may be suffering from a vision condition (and not a learning disability)
  • An eye that appears to wander
  • Squinting or shutting one eye
  • Head tilting
  • Abnormal results of vision screening in school

Risk factors for lazy eye

A few factors are associated with a higher risk of lazy eye, such as small birth weight, premature birth, family history, and developmental disabilities. If your child has any of these risk factors, be sure to mention it to our Fort Worth, Texas, eye doctor at your next kids eye exam.

Treatment for lazy eye

First, any visual acuity problems (such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism) must be corrected. Then, vision therapy is the most common treatment for lazy eye. By practicing a series of custom-designed eye exercises, your child’s brain is forced to start using the weak eye. Usually, the eye doctor will give your kid a patch to wear over the strong eye in order to strengthen the eye muscles of the weak eye. Once vision is determined to be normal, the patch will not need to be worn any longer.

In cases where lazy eye is caused by strabismus or cataracts, surgery may be necessary.

Schedule a kids eye exam to detect or rule out lazy eye

Why wonder if your child has amblyopia or not, when a comprehensive eye exam can give you a proper diagnosis? Untreated lazy eye can lead to permanent vision loss. Instead of taking risks, book an appointment for your kid with our Fort Worth, Texas, eye doctor to inspect for lazy eye and the presence of any other pediatric vision conditions.


At Eagle Mountain Family Eye Care, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 817-769-6601 or book an appointment online to see one of our Fort Worth eye doctors.

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