A leading eye specialist has dismissed claims that a popular hairstyle made famous by pop sensation Justin Bieber can cause long-term damage among children and teenagers.
Australian Optometrists Association member Andrew Hogan warned the current trend for haircuts with long fringes that cover one eye can cause amblyopia - the medical term for lazy eye.
Hogan told Australia's Daily Telegraph the "emo" fringe can cause damage in the most vulnerable age for visual development - from birth to seven years - but research had shown vision could still be affected at later stages.
Amblyopia occurs when the nerve pathway from one eye to the brain does not develop because the abnormal eye sends a blurred image to the brain.
"If a young emo chap has a fringe covering one eye all the time, that eye won't see a lot of detail," Hogan said.
"And if it happens from a young age, that eye can become amblyotic."
However, Auckland-based opthamologist Justin Mora has labelled the claims "silly".
"This is a crazy idea, the concept of this blocking vision and causing problems with sight. It's just silly," said Mora.
The haircut is worn by a range of pop stars including red-haired Rihanna and the teenage stars of One Direction.
As well as the potential damage to eyesight, there are also concerns the fringes could cause postural problems.
Hairdresser Roseanne Anderson said the hairstyle forced many to tilt their heads to one side
"I have to wonder how they don't get a stiff neck," Anderson told the Daily Telegraph.