ZocdocAnswersI think my child is developing a lazy eye. What can be done to treat this issue?

Question

I think my child is developing a lazy eye. What can be done to treat this issue?

I think my 12-year-old daughter is developing a lazy eye in her left eye. Until recently, both of her eyes always moved in unison when she looked up, down, left or right. When she shifts her vision to a new direction now, however, I have noticed that her left eye seems to lag behind the movement of her right eye. I have been told by friends that this may be the sign of a lazy eye and that it may continue to get worse if it is not treated. Do you think she may have a lazy eye, and what are some possible treatments for a lazy eye in a child her age?

Answer

Lazy eye is a condition that is fairly common early in childhood and it is important to see a pediatrician or eye doctor as soon as possible. It is most commonly caused by misalignment of the eyes, but it can also be caused by problems with the passage of light into one or the other eye. When there is misalignment or unequal vision in the two eyes, the brain preferentially uses one eye to process visual information and neglects the other, allowing it to "wander" and not focus on the objects under scrutiny. Lazy eye is commonly diagnosed in younger children, and it would be unusual for diagnosis to be delayed until 12 years of age. I think this actually makes the urgency of having the eyes looked at by a doctor even greater, because it raises the possible that some rapid deterioration in vision might be behind the problem, if indeed it is confirmed. I would suggest going to see your pediatrician or an eye doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to take a look at your daughter's eyes and vision and help figure out if there is any defect in eye alignment or in visual acuity. If any problem is detected, they'll be able to help guide you regarding what to do next.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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