For optimal sight, the eyes and the brain need to operate together. In instances when this system breaks down, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. With the majority of cases of lazy eye the actual eyes are usually in good health but visual acuity cannot be achieved by just eyeglasses. When not treated appropriately lazy eye can result in serious visual impairment, including blindness in one eye.
Lazy eye is the most common vision disorder in children. Because it usually starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition is often difficult to discern. The earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment begins the greater the likelihood of full recovery. Those that don’t start to be treated until they are teenagers or adults often find that it takes much longer and is less effective.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s eyes tested at a young age. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a comprehensive optometric exam by the age of half a year and again when the child turns three.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Lazy eye may be the result of any condition that affects normal eye and vision development. One 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. Lazy eye 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, lazy eye is caused by other optical conditions such as a cataract or another anatomical impairment.
Lazy eye is treated by measures to restore normal vision to both eyes. In addition to wearing prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches involves making the child use the weaker eye. A few treatment options exist to occlude the better eye and the treatment is chosen according to the patient’s circumstances and a consultation with an eye care professional.
Very often doctors will prescribe a patch used to be worn over the strong eye. A patch forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the underdeveloped 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 factor especially with children.
Some optometrists choose to use a drug called atropine. When applied to the stronger eye, atropine drops blur the sight to stimulate the patient to prefer the weaker eye.
Some patients can be treated by vision aides alone, such as prescription glasses or contacts that restore vision to each eye, however this is rare. Further, vision therapy to teach the eyes to operate 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 more chance there is of success. Still, there have been many instances where teenage patients completed successful treatment and therefore anyone who thinks 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 consultation in Mill Creek, WA, contact us to book a visit. The sooner accurate diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to restore your eyesight!