Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop properly caused by the failure of both eyes to work in unison. With the majority of occurrences of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually in good health but the condition is not correctable by just the use of prescription lenses. If not treated lazy eye can result in serious visual impairment, even loss of sight in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most common vision disorder in childhood. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder can be challenging to diagnose. The earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment begins the better the likelihood of full recovery. Patients that don’t begin treatment until they are teenagers or adults often find that it takes far longer and is less effective.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s eyes checked at a young age. The American Optometric Association suggests that children receive a comprehensive optometric exam at the age of six months and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Lazy eye occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. 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. Sometimes amblyopia is caused when 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 conditions such as a cataract or another anatomical problem.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Treating amblyopia aims to achieve normal binocular vision. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, the most common way to do this involves forcing the individual to use the weaker eye. A few treatment options exist to occlude the better eye and the treatment plan is prescribed based on the patient’s circumstances and the decision of the optometrist.
Frequently you will see patching, where a patch is worn to cover the good eye. This compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop more completely. However this treatment largely depends on compliance of the patient to use the patch, which can be difficult especially in the case of children.
Some optometrists opt to use atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the strong eye, this will impair the vision and therefore force the patient to use the weaker eye.
Other treatment options include vision therapy also known as orthoptics to train the eyes to coordinate with each other and in some cases a surgical procedure to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Specialized contact lenses or other aides to achieve better visual acuity may also be tried.
Since amblyopia is the result of a problem with the visual process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. Still, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should consult immediately with their eye care professional. If you are looking for amblyopia treatment in Clarksville, IN, be in touch to schedule an appointment. Lazy eye won’t heal itself so don’t wait to start treatment to repair your sight!