Children Vision Screening
What is Children Vision Screening?
Amblyopia is the medical term for a ‘lazy eye’, where there is reduced vision in an otherwise healthy eye.
During childhood, there is a very important and sensitive time when the vision is developing. At this time, if the light entering the eye does not fall in the correct spot (central part of the retina), there may be a permanent inability to see through that eye.
Amblyopia most commonly occurs when a child who:
Needs Glasses: All images reaching the retina are not in focus (refractive amblyopia)
Eyes aren’t straight: Such as a squint (strabismus), meaning the images to not fall on the fovea, which is our central and most clear point of vision. (strabismic amblyopia)
There is an obstruction to light entering the eye: such as a cataract (deprivation amblyopia)
Parents may not notice anything unusual about their child if the eyes look normal and one eye works well. Many children do not notice they have a problem with their vision.
All children in Ireland will have a basic screening of their eyes at bir, ensuring there is a good red reflex and that their eyes are aligned. Most schools still have a vision screening programme to ensure nothing was missed and to treat vision issues as early as possible.
If there is a family history of vision issues or wearing glasses in school, further examination is recommended, especially if the child appears to ‘squint’
A correct diagnosis is the first step in treating reduced vision. We will check the vision in each eye, using an appropriate method for each child. A thorough check of the eye will then be performed, which will include dilating the childs pupil with eye drops to look at the back of the eye.
It is essential to encourage the child to use the ‘lazy eye’ by means of a patch or drops. Encouraging the lazy eye to work. On occasion, surgery will be needed if the eyes are not aligned and dont fix via glasses.
Treatments are often effective but take time.