In order to have proper vision, the eyes and the brain must function in unison. When this does not happen, a condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye, can result. In most instances of lazy eye the eyes themselves are typically healthy yet the condition cannot be corrected by just the use of prescription lenses. When untreated lazy eye can cause severe visual impairment, including blindness in the affected eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed vision disorder in children. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder can be challenging to detect. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the possibility of full vision restoration. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for patients who start prior to adolescence.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s eyes tested at an early age. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have a complete optometric examination at the age of six months and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia may be the result of a number of conditions that affect normal visual development or use of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are improperly aligned. Such misalignment results in eyes that cross in (estropia) 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. Occasionally, amblyopia is caused by other eye diseases such as a cataract or some other anatomical problem.
Treating Lazy Eye
Treatment for lazy eye is directed at attaining proper binocular vision. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches entails strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the better eye. There are a few alternatives to achieve this and the treatment plan is selected according to the individual situation and a consultation with an optometrist.
Frequently doctors will prescribe a patch used to cover the strong eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the weaker eye and helps the visual processing system to develop more completely. Nevertheless success using a patch is dependent upon compliance with wearing the patch, which can be difficult especially with children.
Some eye doctors decide to use atropine. When applied to the good eye, atropine drops temporarily obscure the sight to stimulate the patient to use the other eye.
Additional treatment options include vision therapy to train the eyes to coordinate with each other and in some cases a surgical procedure to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Special contacts or other aides to achieve better sight are also sometimes tried.
Because lazy eye involves a problem with the proper development of the visual system, the younger the age of treatment, the higher the chance of success. Still, there have been many instances where older patients completed successful treatment and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has amblyopia should consult as soon as possible with their eye care professional. If you are looking for amblyopia management in Glastonbury, CT, be in touch to schedule an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can help restore your sight!