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About your eyes

Eye examination for children

Parents may sometimes think their child is lazy or has a low I.Q. because of poor school work or trouble in learning to read or to spell. In some cases all that the child may need is glasses or the child has a “lazy eye”, something detectable by a medical eye examination. If there is reason to think that your child has any abnormality, it is wise to have an eye examination.

We can check a child for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism at any age. However, the best time is after one year of age when the child has developed advanced fixation patterns. The child’s eyes will be examined for crossed eyes, amblyopia ( “lazy eye” ), cataracts, eye cancer ( retinoblastoma ) and refractive errors. Crossed-eyes can be treated with strong glasses, eye drops or muscle surgery, depending on the cause.

The simple, painless one-hour surgery is performed in the Cape Eye Hospital with general anesthesia. Your child can go home eight hours later and resume all normal activities. Amblyopia is treatable if detected early enough – after seven years of age it is too late. Treatment is patching the good eye to force the lazy eye to work. If your child has a reading disability ( dyslexia ), which is much more common in hyperactive boys, consultation with a pediatrician is mandatory. The next step is help from the school system for special reading tuition.