Two weeks ago, my six year old daughter was diagnosed with severe unequal focus (refractive error) amblyopia. Her condition is unusual because she has it in both eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, amblyopia is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood.
This condition is frequently referred to as “lazy eye.” However do not let this casual reference to the condition lessen your concern for it. It can be very serious and lead to loss of vision. Amblyopia is common, affecting 3 out of every 100 children. Detecting and treating this condition early in childhood is critical because after the first nine years of a child’s life, the visual system is fully developed and usually cannot be changed.
Unless a child has a misaligned eye or other obvious abnormality, it is not easy to recognize amblyopia. Therefore, it is common for parents and the child to have no idea that this serious eye condition exists. Amblyopia is detected by finding the difference in vision between the two eyes and as parents know, it is often difficult to measure vision in young children.
Loss of vision is preventable with the successful treatment of amblyopia and depends on (1) how severe the amblyopia is and (2) how old the child is when treatment begins. Discovering the amblyopia in early childhood is critical and treatment has been found to be successful if started before the age of 6.
My husband and I do not have any eye conditions including amblyopia; therefore we did not expect our children to have vision problems. For the past four years, my daughter has passed her eye screening exams in pre-school and elementary school. This year she came very close to passing her vision screening, but because she struggled slightly, the school nurse recommended an exam with a pediatric ophthalmologist, just to be safe. Even though we are catching my daughter’s condition late, we are blessed that it has been diagnosed and she’s started treatment with corrective lenses and eye therapy.
Don’t delay! Schedule an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist or optometrist today for your child.
Coaching Questions: When was your last full eye exam with an ophthalmologist or optometrist? When was your child’s? What assumptions do you make about your child’s health due to your (the parents) good health?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
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