Amblyopia, commonly called lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop appropriately due to the inability of the two eyes to work together. In most occurrences of ambylopia the actual eyes are usually in good health yet visual acuity cannot be achieved by just glasses. When untreated lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, even blindness in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed vision disorder in children. Given that it usually starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder can be difficult to diagnose. The sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment begins the greater the likelihood of full vision restoration. Those that don’t begin to be treated until adolescence or adulthood frequently find that it takes longer and is less effective.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s eyes checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should receive a comprehensive optometric examination at the age of six months and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Amblyopia can be the result of a number of conditions that affect normal eye and vision development. One common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are improperly aligned. Strabismus can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) 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, lazy eye is caused by other eye conditions such as cataracts or some other pathological problem.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
Amblyopia is treated by measures to attain normal vision to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches involves making the child use the eye with the reduced vision. A few treatment options exist to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment is chosen based on the individual situation and a consultation with an eye care professional.
Frequently doctors will prescribe patching, where a patch is worn to occlude the stronger eye. The patient is then forced to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the weaker eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop properly. Nevertheless this treatment greatly depends on compliance of the patient to use the patch, which can be a problem particularly in the case of children.
Another option is the use of atropine. When applied to the good eye, atropine drops blur the vision and therefore force the patient to use the other eye.
Other treatment options include vision therapy or orthoptics to assist the eyes to coordinate with each other and in some cases surgery to realign the eyes. Specialized contacts or other sight aides may also be employed.
Because amblyopia is the result of a disruption in the vision process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. Still, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has lazy eye should consult as soon as possible with their eye care professional. If you are in need of amblyopia consultation in Lexington, KY, be in touch to schedule an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can help repair your eyesight!