Eye Care (Ophthalmology)

The Gift Of Sight: How To Identify Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) and Why It Should Be Treated from the Start

December 05, 2022

Early screenings and awareness of the condition are key to reversing such eye conditions and preventing more severe complications in adulthood

The Gift Of Sight: How To Identify Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) and Why It Should Be Treated from the Start

Children are a resilient bunch – while they are fast learners and able to absorb the things happening around them, they are still in the development and growing phase. With early detection and proper treatment, children can even reverse common eye conditions such as amblyopia, or more commonly known as lazy eye.

Amblyopia can develop from birth, or the moment the child starts to use his or her eyes and occurs when there is obstruction to vision and abnormal development of the eye-brain pathway. Dr Fiona Chew Lee Min, Consultant Ophthalmologist. Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Strabismus Surgeon from Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) shares from her experience that it could be a challenge to diagnose the condition as children will not be able to complain about the issue since they do not know what normal vision is.

“Indications that a child may have amblyopia are peering to view distant objects, abnormal eye movements, squint, abnormal head posture, frequent falls or bumps into objects, problems with 3-dimensional vision such as going down the stairs, solving puzzles, delayed milestones, and even problems with sports or homework,” she explains.

Dr Lakana Kumar Thavaratnam, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Neuro-Ophthalmologist adds that amblyopia can be hereditary for certain conditions that cause it, such as squint or cataracts.

“Signs of amblyopia that parents or patients can look out for are squint, where the eyes point in two different directions or do not move in proper coordination; refractive errors such as being near sighted, farsighted or astigmatism; cloudiness in normally clear parts of the eye, with some children sometimes being born with cataracts; droopy eyelids, also known as ptosis and allergic conjunctivitis that can cause damage to the cornea and eventually amblyopia if not treated early,” he says.