Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye is the deficiency in central vision development caused by the failure of the two eyes to function in unison. With the majority of occurrences of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually in good health however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just the use of prescription glasses. If not treated appropriately amblyopia can cause serious visual disability, including loss of sight in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most common vision disorder in childhood. Given that it usually starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be challenging to diagnose. The sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment starts the greater the likelihood of full recovery. Those that don’t start treatment until they are teenagers or adults frequently find that it takes much longer and is less effective.
This is why it is important to have your child’s eyes tested early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should receive a complete eye examination by the age of half a year and again at three years of age.
What are the Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia can be the result of any condition that affects normal visual development or functioning of the eyes. One common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. 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 one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is caused by other optical conditions such as cataracts or another structural cause.
Treatment for Amblyopia
Treating amblyopia is directed at attaining proper binocular vision. In addition to wearing prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches entails making the child use the eye with the reduced vision. There are a number of alternatives to occlude the good eye and the treatment plan is prescribed according to the individual situation andthe decision of the eye care professional.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to cover the better eye. The patient is then forced to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the weak eye and helps the visual processing system to develop more completely. However this treatment largely depends on cooperation of the patient to wear the patch, which can be a problem with many children.
Another option is the use of atropine. When placed in the stronger eye, atropine drops obscure the sight and therefore force the use of the weaker eye.
Occasionally patients can be treated by vision aides alone, such as prescription glasses or contacts that restore vision to each eye, yet this is not usually the case. Additionally, vision therapy to teach the eyes to operate as a team or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be suggested.
Because lazy eye is caused by a disruption in the visual process, the younger the age of treatment, the more chance there is of success. Still, there have been many instances where older patients received successful treatment and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with their optometrist If you are in need of amblyopia management in Virginia Beach, VA, contact us to book an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can help repair your vision!