To achieve adequate vision, the eyes and the brain must function in cooperation. In instances when this system breaks down, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. With most cases of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually healthy but the condition is not correctable by just glasses. Left untreated lazy eye can result in serious visual disability, even blindness in that eye.
Lazy eye is the most common cause of sight impairment in childhood. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental issue, the disorder can be challenging to diagnose. Unless it is successfully treated early on, the chance of full vision restoration is limited. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for those who begin prior to the adolescent years.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s vision checked at a young age. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should receive a comprehensive optometric examination by half a year and again when the child turns three.
What are the Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Lazy eye may be the result of a number of conditions that affect typical development of the visual system or use of the eyes. The most 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. 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. On occasion, lazy eye is the result of other optical diseases such as cataracts or another pathological problem.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
Treating amblyopia aims to achieve proper binocular vision. In addition to wearing prescription lenses, the most common way to do this involves strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the better eye. A few treatment options exist to achieve this and the treatment plan is prescribed based on the patient’s situation and a consultation with an eye care professional.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to occlude the stronger eye. This compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes proper sight in the weaker eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop more completely. However success with patching is dependent upon cooperation of the patient to use the patch, which can be a problem with many children.
Another option is the use of atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the better eye, this will temporarily obscure the sight and therefore stimulate the preference of the weaker eye.
Additional treatment options include vision therapy to train the eyes to coordinate with each other and sometimes surgery to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Special contacts or other aides to improve vision are also sometimes used.
Since amblyopia is the result of a problem with the vision process, the younger the age at which treatment begins, the higher the chance of success. Nevertheless, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment immediately with their eye care professional. If you are in need of lazy eye consultation in Lake Grove, NY, contact us to book a visit. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to restore your eyesight!