For adequate sight, the eyes and the brain need to function in cooperation. In instances when this does not happen, a condition called amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, can result. In most instances of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually in good health however the condition cannot be corrected by just the use of prescription glasses. Left untreated amblyopia can cause severe visual disability, including blindness in one eye.
Amblyopia is the most common vision disorder in children. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder can be difficult to discern. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chances of complete recovery. Those that don’t start treatment until they are teenagers or adults don’t usually experience as successful outcomes as patients who begin treatment earlier.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s vision tested at a young age. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should receive a comprehensive eye examination at six months and another when the child turns three.
What are the Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia can be the result of any condition that affects typical vision development or use of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the location of the eyes. Strabismus 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 one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. On occasion, lazy eye is the result of other optical conditions such as a cataract or some other anatomical impairment.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Treatment for amblyopia is directed at attaining normal binocular vision. Along with the use of prescription lenses, the most common way to do this requires making the child use the eye with the reduced vision. There are a few options to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment plan is chosen depending on the patient’s situation and a consultation with an eye care professional.
Frequently you will see a patch used to occlude the good eye. A patch forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the weaker eye and helps the visual processing system to develop more completely. Nevertheless success using a patch greatly depends on cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
An alternative to patching is the use of a drug known as atropine. When placed in the better eye, atropine drops temporarily blur the vision to force the preference of the weaker eye.
Some vision can be improved by vision devices alone, such as prescription glasses or contact lenses that restore vision to each eye, yet this is rare. Additionally, vision therapy to train the eyes to work as a team or in some cases surgery might also be options.
Because 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. Still, there have been many cases where older patients were successfully treated 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 looking for lazy eye management in San Francisco, CA, contact us to schedule a visit. Lazy eye won’t get better on its own so don’t delay in starting to restore your vision!