Children’s eye treatment: What is a lazy eye and what is a lazy eye treatment?


Lazy eye is the lack of development of vision in one eye. Usually, the eye is like a camera–it takes a picture, sends it through the optic nerve to the back of the brain. The brain develops the best vision potential over the first ten years of life. So if the child has not got good input of the images, it means the eye is not working so well, or the optic nerve has not developed so well.

If the eyes are not working together in the same way, then one eye will be lazy. That means it cannot see as good as the other eye. Lazy eye is not something uncommon in children. Often, it’s very mild, and usually, it’s the difference in the prescription between the two eyes.

Most cases of lazy eye can be treated by what we call patching or occlusion therapy, which is a straightforward treatment where we stop the good eye from seeing for a couple of hours a day, and this will allow the lazy eye to develop better vision.

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The typical case scenario is a child referred by an optometrist, and they will notice that the child cannot see so well in one eye. Usually, when I see the child, I will go through a full assessment, and we do one important thing, that is measuring the eyes. That’s called the cycloplegic refraction. Basically, you measure the power of the eye objectively.

Based on that assessment, we decide whether the eye has any prescription, and this is the first system in treating lazy eye. We give the full prescription for the child, and we wait a little bit– around three to six months.

If the vision develops nicely and well and becomes equal between the two eyes, then actually lazy eye is treated.

If not, then we start what we call the occlusion therapy by patching the good eye to allow the lazy eye to develop better vision.

About the expert

Mr Samer Hamada | Consultant Ophthalmologist and Corneal Surgeon

MD, MSc, DO (hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth I am Samer Hamada, founder and consultant ophthalmic surgeon with over 20 years’ experience in ophthalmology. I am a world-renowned specialist in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery. I’m not only a leading surgeon but also the only dual fellowship trained in corneal diseases in children from reputable institutions in the UK. At Eye Clinic London I work closely with other consultant ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. Our main aim is to make sure our patients get the safest and best treatments available to them. We put your safety before anything else so you can rest assured that if you choose us you will be in the best and safest hands.

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