For optimal vision, the eyes and the brain need to operate as a team. When this system breaks down, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. With the majority of instances of ambylopia the actual eyes are usually in good health however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just glasses. When not treated appropriately lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, including loss of sight in one eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed cause of visual impairment in childhood. Given that it usually starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition is often difficult to detect. The earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment begins the better the possibility of full vision restoration. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for patients who begin prior to adolescence.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s eyes tested early on in development. The American Optometric Association suggests that children have a complete eye examination at the age of half a year and another by three years of age.
Causes of Amblyopia
Lazy eye occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. One common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the location of the eyes. Strabismus results in eyes that cross in (estropia) 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 condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, lazy eye is caused by other eye diseases such as a cataract or some other pathological impairment.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
Lazy eye is treated by measures to restore proper visual acuity to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches requires forcing the patient to use the eye with the reduced vision. There are a few ways to occlude the better eye and the treatment is selected depending on the individual situation and a consultation with an eye care professional.
Frequently doctors will prescribe a patch used to be worn over the good eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual processing system to develop more completely. However success with patching is dependent upon compliance with wearing the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
Some eye doctors choose to use atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the strong eye, this will blur the sight to stimulate the patient to prefer the other eye.
Additional treatment options include vision therapy also known as orthoptics to help the eyes to coordinate with each other and in some cases surgery to realign the eyes. Special contacts or other vision aides may also be tried.
Because lazy eye is caused by a problem with the proper development of the visual system, the younger the age of treatment, the more chance there is of success. However, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with their eye doctor If you are in need of amblyopia management in Plano, TX, contact us to book a visit. Lazy eye doesn’t heal itself so don’t wait to start treatment to repair your vision!