Amblyopia or lazy eye is the deficiency in central vision development caused by the failure of the two eyes to work in unison. With most cases of lazy eye the eyes themselves are typically in good health however good vision cannot be achieved by just the use of prescription eyeglasses. If untreated lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, including loss of sight in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of sight impairment in childhood. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder is often challenging to detect. Unless it is successfully treated at an early age, the chance of full recovery is limited. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for patients who start prior to adolescence.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s eyes and vision tested early on in development. The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive a complete optometric exam by six months and another when the child turns three.
What are the Causes of Amblyopia (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 positioning 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 condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, lazy eye is the result of other optical diseases such as a cataract or some other pathological impairment.
How is Amblyopia Treated?
Lazy eye is treated by measures to attain normal vision to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches requires forcing the patient to use the eye with the reduced vision. There are a few options to achieve this and the treatment is chosen according to the individual circumstances and a consultation with an eye doctor.
Frequently you will see a patch used to occlude the good eye. The patient is then forced to use the weak eye, which stimulates proper sight in the weaker eye and helps the visual processing system to develop properly. Nevertheless success using a patch is dependent upon cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
Some eye doctors opt to use atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the strong eye, this will obscure the sight to force the preference of the weaker eye.
Some vision can be improved by vision aides alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contacts that improve vision in each eye, however this is rare. Further, vision therapy to teach the eyes to operate in unison or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be suggested.
Because lazy eye is the result of a problem with the vision process, the younger the age at which treatment starts, the more chance there is of improvement. However, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has amblyopia should consult immediately with their eye care professional. If you are in need of amblyopia treatment in Tucson, AZ, be in touch to book a visit. Amblyopia won’t get better on its own so don’t delay in starting to restore your vision!