In order to have adequate vision, the eyes and the brain need to function together. In instances when this does not happen, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. With most instances of lazy eye the actual eyes are usually healthy but the condition cannot be corrected by just eyeglasses. If not treated appropriately lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, even blindness in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed vision disorder in childhood. Since it typically starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder can be difficult to discern. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the chances of full vision restoration. Patients that don’t begin treatment until adolescence or adulthood don’t usually find as successful results as patients who start treatment early on.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes and vision checked at a young age. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a complete optometric exam at the age of half a year and again when the child turns three.
What are the Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Lazy eye can be caused by a number of conditions that affect typical eye and vision development. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are improperly aligned. Strabismus results in eyes that cross in (estropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Lazy eye can also be caused by a condition where one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is the result of other eye conditions such as cataracts or some other structural problem.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
Treatment for lazy eye is directed at attaining normal binocular vision. In addition to wearing prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches involves strengthening the weaker eye by inhibiting the use of the better eye. There are a few ways to occlude the better eye and the treatment plan is selected depending on the individual situation and the decision of the optometrist.
Frequently you will see patching, where a patch is used to cover the stronger eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which stimulates vision in the weak eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop properly. Nevertheless success using a patch is dependent upon cooperation of the patient to use the patch, which can be a factor with many children.
An alternative to patching is the use of atropine. When applied to the stronger eye, atropine drops blur the sight to force the patient to use the weaker eye.
Alternatives to these treatments include vision therapy to train the eyes to coordinate with each other and in some cases surgery to realign the eyes. Special contacts or other aides to improve vision may also be used.
Since amblyopia involves a problem with the proper development of the visual system, the younger the age at which treatment begins, the higher the chance of improvement. Nevertheless, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment immediately with their optometrist If you are in need of amblyopia management in Westerville, OH, be in touch to schedule an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to restore your sight!