In order to have proper vision, it is essential for the eyes to work in cooperation with each other and with the brain. In instances when this system breaks down, a condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye, can occur. In most cases of ambylopia the eyes themselves are usually in good health yet the condition is not correctable by just lenses. Left not treated lazy eye can result in severe visual impairment, even blindness in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of sight impairment in children. Because it usually starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be difficult to diagnose. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the likelihood of complete vision restoration. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for those who begin prior to adolescence.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s vision tested early on in development. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have a comprehensive optometric examination by six months and again at three years of age.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia can be the result of a number of conditions that affect normal eye and vision development. The most common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the location 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 one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is the result of other eye diseases such as cataracts or another pathological impairment.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Lazy eye is treated by efforts to attain optimal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to using prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches entails making the patient use the weaker eye. A few treatment options exist to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment plan is selected according to the individual circumstances and the decision of the eye care professional.
Frequently you will see a patch used to occlude the strong eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the weak eye and helps the visual processing system to develop more completely. Nevertheless this treatment is dependent upon cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be a problem particularly in the case of children.
Some optometrists opt to use atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the better eye, this will blur the vision and therefore force the preference of the other eye.
Other treatment options include vision therapy to help the eyes to coordinate with each other and sometimes surgery to realign the eyes. Special contacts or other aides to achieve better sight are also sometimes used.
Since lazy eye involves a problem with the visual process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. However, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should consult as soon as possible with their eye doctor If you are in need of lazy eye consultation in Baltimore, MD, contact us to book a visit. Lazy eye won’t heal itself so don’t wait to start treatment to repair your eyesight!