At Home Christian Jessen 2014 - 372

|bright eyes|
LAZY EYE
WHAT IS IT?
If a squint isn't treated quickly enough,
or the eyes aren't working together for
some other reason, this can develop into
amblyopia, better known as a lazy eye.
As the brain tries to deal with the double
vision, or with impaired vision in one
eye, it starts to block out the signal from
the weaker eye. As a result, the vision
in that eye deteriorates further or never
develops. Around one in 50 children
is affected, and it usually becomes
apparent around the age of four. Many
children are unaware anything is wrong,
and it's picked up in a routine sight test.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
A lazy eye is often caused by a squint
or refractive error, or it may be caused
by childhood cataracts, corneal ulcer,
corneal scarring or ptosis (drooping
eyelid) impairing the vision in one eye.
WHAT'S THE TREATMENT?
It's essential that a lazy eye is treated
swiftly, or it can result in irreversible
vision loss. First the underlying problem
is tackled - for instance, a squint may
be corrected with glasses, or cataracts
removed surgically. Your child may then
wear an eye patch over their 'good'
eye, or use eye drops to temporarily
'ChiLdrEn WiTh A
ConSTAnT SqUinT
MAy dEvELop
poor viSion And
bE UnAbLE To
ApprECiATE dEpTh'
blur its vision. Most effective before the
age of six, this forces the 'lazy' eye to
work harder and, therefore, get stronger.
SQUINT
WHAT IS IT?
A squint is a misalignment of the eyes.
While one eye is looking forwards,
the other turns inwards (convergent
squint), outwards (divergent squint)
or, more rarely, upwards or downwards
(vertical squint). This causes blurred
or double vision and, left untreated,
can lead to a lazy eye.
'Children with a constant squint may
develop poor vision and be unable
to appreciate depth,' says Professor
Christopher Bentley, specialist in squint
treatment for children. 'Occasionally,
64 | JULY 2014
EyES ArE noT fULL SizE AT
birTh, ThEy ConTinUE To
groW AS yoUr ChiLd doES
a child will adopt an abnormal head
position, such as a tilt, in an effort to
keep both eyes aligned.' One in 20
children develops a squint, usually before
the age of five. It's normal for a young
baby to squint, but if it continues after
three months of age, take him to his GP.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Some babies are born with a squint
while for others, it develops later as a
result of a refractory error. In rarer cases,
it may be caused by measles, Down's
syndrome or abnormal development
of the eye muscles or retina. There's an
increased risk if there's a family history
of the condition; premature birth or low
birth weight; or conditions affecting the
nervous system, such as cerebral palsy.
WHAT'S THE TREATMENT?
A squint needs to be treated as
quickly as possible to stop it becoming
permanent. Options include glasses or
contact lenses to correct the refractory
error, and eye exercises to help the eyes

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home Christian Jessen 2014

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