Amblyopia or lazy eye is the lack of central vision development due to the failure of the eyes to function in unison. In most instances of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually in good health yet the condition cannot be corrected by just the use of prescription glasses. Left not treated appropriately amblyopia can cause serious visual disability, even blindness in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed cause of visual impairment in childhood. Given that it typically starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be challenging to detect. Unless it is adequately treated early on, the chance of regaining normal eyesight is limited. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for patients who begin before adolescence.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes checked at an early age. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should receive a comprehensive optometric examination by the age of half a year and again by three years of age.
Causes of Amblyopia
Lazy eye can be the result of any condition that affects typical development of the visual system or use of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. Such misalignment 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 the eyes have different levels of acuity. This condition is called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is caused by other optical diseases such as a cataract or another pathological impairment.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Amblyopia is treated by measures to attain normal vision to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, the most common way to do this entails making the patient use the weaker eye. There are a few ways to occlude the better eye and the treatment plan is prescribed depending on the patient’s circumstances and the decision of the optometrist.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to cover the stronger eye. This compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates vision in the weaker eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop more completely. However success with patching largely depends on cooperation of the patient to wear the patch, which can be a factor with many children.
Another option is the use of a drug called atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the good eye, this will blur the sight to force the patient to use the other eye.
Occasionally vision can be improved by vision aides alone, such as prescription glasses or contacts that improve vision in each eye, however this is rare. Additionally, vision therapy to train the eyes to function together or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be suggested.
Because amblyopia is caused by a problem with the vision process, the younger the age at which treatment starts, the more chance there is of success. Nevertheless, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should consult immediately with their eye care professional. If you are looking for lazy eye treatment in Scotts Valley, CA, be in touch to book an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can begin to repair your vision!