Two top eye experts have dismissed claims that ’emo’ haircuts with heavy fringes could lead to lazy eye syndrome.
It was reported earlier this week that Andrew Hogan, education director of the Optometrists Association of Tasmania had warned about the dangers of teenagers wearing heavy fringes, saying it could lead to wearers developing amblyotic conditions. Amblyotic is the medical term for lazy eye syndrome.
However, Professor Robert Scott, a consultant ophthalmologist at the BMI Priory Hospital in Birmingham, told NME that unless children were sporting ’emo’ haircuts before the age of seven, the claims were pretty much nonsense.
Asked if Hogan’s claims that having a heavy fringe could lead to the development of lazy eye syndrome, Scott said: “The visual critical period, where prolonged occlusion of an eye can reduce vision by causing a lazy eye, is up to the age of seven. After that you can cover one eye with an ‘Emo’ hair cut with little to no chance of reducing vision in that eye. I have never seen a patient who has lost vision from a haircut and could not find any reported cases in the scientific literature.”
Sirjit Sanghera, Ophthalmic Director at Specsavers Tottenham Court Road confirmed this, adding: “The cut off point for the development of the visual system is considered to be 8 years of age. Some people in the US have argued it could be as old as 12 years but nothing concrete. As the typical age for an ‘Emo’ haircut is older, it isn’t an issue. Also, you would need to have a 8 year old or younger with an Emo haircut who had it 24/7 for there to be a risk of amblyopia.”
Scott added that parents of ’emo’ teenagers have nothing to fear, saying: “I have seen people with squints hiding one eye with a fringe of hair, but do not believe that parents should worry unduly about their child’s eyesight if they choose an ‘Emo’ hairstyle after the age of seven.”