Amblyopia or lazy eye is the lack of central vision development due to the inability of the two eyes to function in unison. In the majority of instances of ambylopia the actual eyes are typically in good health but the condition cannot be corrected by just the use of prescription lenses. Left untreated amblyopia can result in serious visual disability, even blindness in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of sight impairment in childhood. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be difficult to discern. Unless it is successfully treated at an early age, the likelihood of complete recovery is diminished. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for patients who begin prior to entering pre-teen years.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes and vision tested at a young age. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a complete optometric exam at six months and again when the child turns three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Lazy eye occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. One 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. Sometimes amblyopia is caused when one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is caused by other optical conditions such as cataracts or another anatomical cause.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Lazy eye is treated by measures to achieve optimal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to wearing prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches requires strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the stronger. A few treatment options exist to occlude the good eye and the treatment plan is prescribed according to the patient’s situation andthe decision of the eye care professional.
Very often doctors will prescribe patching, where a patch is worn to occlude the better eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates vision in the weak eye and assists the visual processing system to develop more completely. However this treatment is dependent upon cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be a factor with many children.
Some optometrists choose to use a drug called atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the better eye, this will temporarily blur the vision to stimulate the patient to prefer the weaker eye.
Alternatives to these treatments include vision therapy to train the eyes to work together as a team and sometimes surgery to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Specialized contact lenses or other vision aides may also be tried.
Because lazy eye is caused by a disruption in the proper development of the visual system, younger patients often experience more success with treatment. However, there have been many cases where older patients received successful treatment and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has amblyopia should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with their optometrist If you are looking for amblyopia management in Mesa, AZ, be in touch to book a visit. The sooner accurate diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to restore your vision!