Amblyopia, commonly called lazy eye is a deficiency in proper vision development caused by the inability of both eyes to work in unison. With the majority of cases of ambylopia the actual eyes are usually healthy but good vision cannot be achieved by just lenses. When untreated lazy eye can cause severe visual disability, including blindness in one eye.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of sight impairment in children. Usually beginning as an infant developmental issue, the disorder can be difficult to discern. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the likelihood of complete recovery. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for patients who begin prior to the adolescent years.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s eyes and vision tested at a young age. The American Optometric Association suggests that children have a comprehensive eye examination at half a year and again by three years of age.
Causes of Amblyopia
Lazy eye may be the result of any condition that affects typical eye and vision development. One common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the positioning of the eyes. Strabismus results in eyes that cross in (estropia) 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. On occasion, lazy eye is the result of other eye diseases such as a cataract or some other pathological impairment.
How is Amblyopia Treated?
Amblyopia is treated by efforts to attain optimal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to using prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches involves forcing the individual to use the eye with the reduced vision. A few treatment options exist to occlude the good eye and the treatment is chosen based on the individual circumstances and the decision of the eye doctor.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to cover the better eye. A patch forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the weaker eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop more completely. However this treatment is dependent upon compliance with wearing the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
Some eye care professionals choose to use atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the better eye, this will temporarily blur the sight to stimulate the use of the weaker eye.
Occasionally patients can be treated by vision devices alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contacts that improve vision in each eye, however this is rare. Further, vision therapy to train the eyes to work together or in some cases surgery might also be tried.
Because lazy eye is caused by a problem with the visual process, the younger the age at which treatment begins, the more chance there is of success. Nevertheless, there have been many cases where teenage patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should consult immediately with their eye care professional. If you are in need of lazy eye consultation in Cherry Hill, NJ, be in touch to book a visit. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to restore your sight!