Symptoms of lazy eye 

Younger children are often unaware that they have a problem with their vision, so the only noticeable symptoms of a lazy eye may be related to an underlying condition, such as:

  • a squint – where the weaker eye looks inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards, while the other eye looks forwards
  • childhood cataracts – cloudy patches that develop at the front of the eye (the lens)
  • ptosis – where the upper eyelid drops over the eye, impairing vision

One way to check your child's eyes is to cover each eye, one at a time, with your hand. If they try to push your hand away from one eye, but not the other, it may be a sign that they can see better out of one eye.

Older children may complain that their vision is better in one eye and that they have problems with reading, writing and drawing.

When to seek medical advice

Many cases of lazy eye are diagnosed during routine eye tests before parents realise that there is something wrong with their child's vision.

If you are concerned, visit your GP, who can refer your child for further testing by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist).

Childhood squint: Holly's story

A paediatric consultant explains the causes of squints, a misalignment of the eye. He describes how to identify the symptoms and the treatment options.

Media last reviewed: 18/06/2015

Next review due: 18/06/2017

Eye health

Find out about eye tests, protecting your eyes from injury, contact lens safety and laser eye surgery

Page last reviewed: 17/04/2014

Next review due: 17/04/2016