Is There an Operation for 'Lazy Eye'?
I am 14 and I have had a lazy eye since I was three. I've asked my mum to get me a referral to the eye clinic so she rang my opticians and they said they would get back to us. I was hoping to have an operation on my lazy eye, I know this would not improve my eye sight, but it might make my both eyes look straight. Is an operation available on the NHS?
If your eyes are not aligned and one eye is much weaker in terms of eyesight than the other, you may have a lazy eye. However, a lazy eye, one that does not have very good vision because of a squint, usually develops because eyes are not pointing in the same direction from birth. It does not usually develop at the age of three, so it is worth getting an appointment to see an optician about this, so that he or she can examine your eyes in detail.
You may also need to see your GP and ask if you can be referred to an eye specialist who can tell you the exact nature of the problem. If your eyes have been out of alignment for some time, your vision will have been affected and this, as well as the squint, needs to be treated.
By the age of 14, there is not too much plasticity left in the nerves that connect up the eyes with the brain, but all may not be hopeless. It used to be thought that nothing that was done after the age of 8 would make any difference. However, recent research in Asia has demonstrated that major improvements in eyesight can be made using special exercises in which the lazy eye is made to work using exercises on a computer screen. There are centres in the UK offering a form of this treatment and your optician or your GP should be able to find out about it.
At the very least, you need to be given some glasses that will help you see as well as you possibly can. There is no need to be embarrassed about having to wear glasses now – there are some really nice ones and glasses have become a type of fashion accessory.
It may be possible to correct the alignment of the eyes, so they don’t look strange. The earlier that you see someone the better. It is a shame that this problem was not picked up during routine school examinations at primary school – most squints and lazy eyes are recognised in this way. But, if you act now, there are lots of things that can be done to help.