Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye is the lack of central vision development due to the failure of both eyes to work together. With most cases of lazy eye the actual eyes are typically healthy yet visual acuity cannot be achieved by just the use of prescription glasses. When not treated appropriately lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, even blindness in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed cause of sight impairment in children. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder can be challenging to discern. Unless it is adequately treated at an early age, the chance of regaining normal eyesight is diminished. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for those who begin before entering pre-teen years.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s vision checked at an early age. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should receive a comprehensive optometric examination at half a year and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Lazy eye can be the result of any condition that affects typical vision development or functioning of the eyes. One common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. Strabismus can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Sometimes amblyopia is caused when the eyes have different levels of acuity. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. Occasionally, lazy eye is caused by other optical diseases such as cataracts or some other structural cause.
Treating Lazy Eye
Amblyopia is treated by measures to achieve normal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to using prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches requires strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the better eye. There are a number of ways to achieve this and the treatment plan is prescribed depending on the individual situation and a consultation with an eye care professional.
Very often doctors will prescribe patching, where a patch is used to occlude the good eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes proper sight in the weak eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop more completely. However this treatment greatly depends on cooperation of the patient to use the patch, which can be a problem especially with children.
Another option is the use of atropine. When placed in the stronger eye, atropine drops temporarily obscure the vision and therefore force the use of the other eye.
Some patients can be treated by vision devices alone, such as prescription glasses or contact lenses that improve vision in each eye, however this is not usually the case. Further, vision therapy to teach the eyes to operate together or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be options.
Since amblyopia involves a problem with the visual process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. However, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has amblyopia should schedule an appointment immediately with their eye care professional. If you are looking for lazy eye management in Hoover, AL, contact us to schedule an appointment. Amblyopia won’t get better on its own so don’t wait to start treatment to repair your vision!