Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye is the deficiency in central vision development due to the failure of the two eyes to work together. In the majority of instances of lazy eye the actual eyes are usually in good health however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just lenses. If not treated appropriately lazy eye can cause severe visual impairment, including blindness in one eye.
Lazy eye is the most common vision disorder in childhood. Because it typically starts as an infant developmental issue, the condition can be difficult to detect. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the likelihood of complete recovery. Patients that don’t start treatment until they are teenagers or adults don’t usually find as successful results as patients who begin treatment when they are young.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s eyes checked at an early age. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have a complete eye exam at half a year and another when the child turns three.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. One common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. Such misalignment can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Amblyopia 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, amblyopia is the result of other optical diseases such as a cataract or another structural cause.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
Lazy eye is treated by efforts to attain normal vision to both eyes. In addition to using prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches entails strengthening the weaker eye by limiting the use of the stronger. There are a number of options to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment is selected according to the individual situation and the decision of the optometrist.
Very often you will see a patch used to occlude the good eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which stimulates vision in the underdeveloped eye and assists the visual processing system to develop more completely. Nevertheless success using a patch is dependent upon cooperation of the patient to wear the patch, which can be a factor particularly with children.
Some eye doctors choose to use a drug called atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the better eye, this will blur the vision and therefore stimulate the patient to use the weaker eye.
Occasionally vision can be improved by vision aides alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that improve vision in each eye, however this is rare. Further, vision therapy to teach the eyes to operate in unison or in some cases surgery might also be options.
Because lazy eye involves a problem with the proper development of the visual system, 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 amblyopia should consult as soon as possible with their eye doctor If you are in need of amblyopia management in Philadelphia, PA, be in touch to book an appointment. Amblyopia won’t heal itself so don’t wait to start treatment to restore your sight!