Amblyopia or lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop properly due to the inability of the eyes to function in unison. In the majority of occurrences of ambylopia the actual eyes are usually healthy but good vision cannot be achieved by just lenses. Left untreated lazy eye can result in serious visual impairment, even blindness in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of sight impairment in childhood. Given that it usually starts as an infant developmental problem, the disorder is often challenging to discern. Unless it is successfully treated at an early age, the chance of obtaining normal eyesight is limited. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for those who begin before the pre-teen years.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s eyes and vision checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a comprehensive optometric exam by the age of six months and again at three years of age.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. 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, lazy eye is the result of other optical conditions such as a cataract or another structural impairment.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Amblyopia is treated by efforts to achieve proper visual acuity to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches involves strengthening the weaker eye by inhibiting the use of the better eye. There are a few alternatives to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment plan is prescribed according to the patient’s circumstances and the decision of the optometrist.
Frequently doctors will prescribe a patch used to cover the good eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes vision in the weak eye and assists the visual processing system to develop properly. Nevertheless success with patching is dependent upon compliance with wearing the patch, which can be a problem with many children.
An alternative to patching is the use of a drug called atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the better eye, this will temporarily obscure the vision to stimulate the patient to use the other eye.
Occasionally patients can be treated by vision aides alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that improve vision in each eye, however this is rare. Additionally, vision therapy to train the eyes to work as a team or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be suggested.
Because amblyopia is caused by a problem with the vision process, the younger the age of treatment, the more chance there is of improvement. Still, there have been many cases where teenage patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has amblyopia should consult immediately with their eye doctor If you are in need of lazy eye consultation in Blacksburg, VA, contact us to book an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can help restore your eyesight!