Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye is the lack of central vision development caused by the inability of the eyes to work in unison. With most instances of lazy eye the actual eyes are usually healthy but good vision cannot be achieved by just the use of prescription glasses. If untreated amblyopia can result in severe visual disability, including loss of sight in that eye.
Lazy eye is the most common vision disorder in children. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental issue, the condition can be challenging to detect. Unless it is adequately treated early on, the chance of full vision restoration is reduced. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for patients who begin prior to the adolescent years.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s vision checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should receive a complete optometric examination at the age of half a year and again when the child turns three.
What are the Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Lazy eye occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. One common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the positioning of the eyes. 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 is the result of a condition called anisometropia. Occasionally, lazy eye is the result of other optical conditions such as a cataract or another pathological impairment.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
Lazy eye is treated by efforts to attain normal vision to both eyes. In addition to wearing prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches requires forcing the child to use the weaker eye. There are a few alternatives to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment is chosen according to the patient’s situation and a consultation with an optometrist.
Very often doctors will prescribe a patch used to occlude the good eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop properly. However this treatment greatly depends on cooperation of the patient to use the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
Some eye doctors choose to use a drug called atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the better eye, this will temporarily obscure the sight and therefore stimulate the patient to prefer the weaker eye.
Alternatives to these treatments include vision therapy to assist the eyes to work together as a team and in some cases surgery to realign the eyes. Special contact lenses or other aides to achieve better sight may also be employed.
Since amblyopia is caused by a problem with the visual process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. Still, there have been many instances where teenage patients completed successful treatment and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment immediately with their eye doctor. If you are looking for amblyopia treatment in Bloomington, IL, contact us to schedule an appointment. Amblyopia won’t get better on its own so don’t delay in starting to repair your sight!