A Lazy Eye has been a Childhood Problem for Many Years
What is a lazy eye?
A lazy eye is medically known as amblyopia and is a type of reduced vision that occurs in one eye. It is called a lazy eye because the stronger eye works best.
This condition is the most common cause of visual impairment in children, usually occurring between birth and seven years of age.
What are the symptoms of a lazy eye?
- An eye wanders inwards or outwards.
- Eyes that appear not to work together.
- Poor depth perception.
- Blurred vision.
- Double vision.
- Squinting or shutting an eye.
- Head tilting.
- Abnormal results of vision or screening tests.
Identifying and treating children with this condition before the age of seven leads to the best chances of fully correcting the condition.
How is a lazy eye treated?
If you have a child who is experiencing one or more of the symptoms of a lazy eye, it is important to see an ophthalmologist for a correct diagnosis and suggested treatment plan.
Treatment options include:
- Corrective glasses.
- Wearing an eye patch on the good eye to make the lazy eye work.
- Eye drops.
If left untreated, a lazy eye can result in permanent vision loss in the affected eye.
Could modern technology come to the rescue?
Now a mobile phone app has been created by eye specialists to encourage children with "lazy eye" to wear a patch that helps correct the condition and ensure it is being used properly.
Medical experts at the University of Southampton in the UK have joined up with mathematicians and game designers to create this app to encourage children to build a positive association with their eye patch.
Th app consists of computer games designed by graduates of the University's Winchester School of Art working at Nacleolus Software - a company specially formed for this project. It uses the phone's camera to check if the player is wearing the patch correctly and encourages them to do so and to continue doing so.
And a prototype of the app - The Amblios Club - is available for Android devices on the Google Play Store.
It is hoped that this app will help both the children with amblyopia (and their parents) to improve the success statistics. Although one in fifty children are likely to suffer, the actual success rate is only fifty percent because children often struggle to wear the patch properly with many families giving up on the treatment.
I was one of those "one in fifty" when I was a young child - and diagnosed with a lazy eye. I too wore a patch. Although the lazy eye started to work again, I have always suffered with impaired vision in the affected eye. Perhaps as a family we were not persistent enough with the wearing of the patch...