Amblyopia or lazy eye is the deficiency in central vision development caused by the failure of the two eyes to function together. In the majority of instances of ambylopia the actual eyes are typically healthy however the condition is not correctable by just eyeglasses. If not treated appropriately lazy eye can result in serious visual impairment, including blindness in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed cause of sight impairment in children. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder is often challenging to discern. Unless it is adequately treated early on, the chance of full vision restoration is limited. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for patients who start prior to entering adolescent years.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s eyes and vision checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a comprehensive eye exam at the age of half a year and again when the child turns three.
Causes of Amblyopia
Lazy eye may be caused by a number of conditions that affect typical eye and vision development. One common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the location of the eyes. Such misalignment can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Sometimes amblyopia is caused when the eyes have different levels of acuity. This condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is caused by other eye conditions such as a cataract or some other pathological cause.
Treatment for Amblyopia
Lazy eye is treated by measures to attain optimal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to wearing prescription lenses, the most common way to do this involves making the patient use the eye with the reduced vision. A few treatment options exist to occlude the good eye and the treatment is chosen based on the patient’s circumstances and a consultation with an eye doctor.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is worn to cover the good eye. The patient is then forced to use the weak eye, which stimulates vision in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop properly. Nevertheless success using a patch is dependent upon compliance of the patient to wear the patch, which can be a problem particularly in the case of children.
Some optometrists choose to use a drug known as atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the good eye, this will temporarily obscure the sight and therefore stimulate the use of the weaker eye.
Some vision can be improved by vision devices alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contacts that restore vision to each eye, however this is not usually the case. Additionally, vision therapy to teach the eyes to function together or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be options.
Because amblyopia is the result of a problem with the proper development of the visual system, the younger the age of treatment, the more chance there is of improvement. However, there have been many cases where teenage patients were successfully treated 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 management in Kennett Square, PA, be in touch to schedule an appointment. The sooner accurate diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can begin to repair your eyesight!