The photo was taken just moments after trying on his new glasses. He stood there stunned and in awe. Then he turned to mom and gave her a strong hug. (true story and photo shared with permission by mother.)

Watching the reaction of a child see the world clearly for the first time is heart warming and rewarding every time. So you might wonder, how common is this reaction? How common is it for children to need corrective glasses so young?

It is actually quite common. Approximately 1~5% of children worldwide (that’s roughly 3 out of 100 kids!) have a preventable and treatable vision loss called amblyopia (also called lazy eye or lazy vision). Amblyopia is defined as poor development of the visual cortex (the brain’s vision processing center) during the first decade of the human life.

WHAT CAUSES AMBLYOPIA?

Conditions that interfere with the normal visual image during vision development, such as uncorrected refractive errors, strabismus, obstruction of the visual axis (such as a droopy eyelid or cataract), or a combination of these can lead to amblyopia if not identified and corrected.

HOW DO I CHECK IF MY CHILD HAS A LAZY EYE: AMBLYOPIA?

Ask your pediatrician or family physician about photoscreening. Photoscreening can be performed as early as age 6 months and is a great alternative in children who are unable to cooperate with visual acuity testing with a vision chart.

A child’s ability to see can be checked using a vision chart as soon as a child is cooperative enough to complete the assessment. This can generally occur between age 3-1/2 and 4 years. This can be performed by a pediatrician, family practitioner, ophthalmologist, optometrist, orthoptist, nurse or other trained-individual.

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