Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop properly caused by the inability of both eyes to function in unison. With most cases of lazy eye the actual eyes are usually healthy but the condition cannot be corrected by just the use of prescription eyeglasses. When not treated amblyopia can result in severe visual disability, even blindness in that eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed vision disorder in childhood. Because it typically starts as an infant developmental issue, the condition can be challenging to detect. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the possibility of complete vision restoration. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for those who start prior to adolescence.
This is why it is important to have your child’s eyes tested at a young age. The American Optometric Association suggests that children receive a complete optometric examination by six months and again by three years of age.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia can be the result of any condition that affects normal development of the visual system or functioning of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. 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 is the result of a condition called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is caused by other eye diseases such as cataracts or some other anatomical cause.
Treating Lazy Eye
Amblyopia is treated by measures to achieve proper visual acuity to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches entails strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the stronger. There are a number of alternatives to achieve this and the treatment is selected based on the patient’s situation and a consultation with an optometrist.
Very often doctors will prescribe a patch used to be worn over the strong eye. This compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes proper sight in the weak eye and assists the visual processing system to develop more completely. However this treatment greatly depends on compliance of the patient to wear the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
Some eye care professionals choose to use a drug called atropine. When applied to the better eye, atropine drops temporarily impair the vision and therefore force the patient to use the weaker eye.
Occasionally patients can be treated by vision devices alone, such as prescription glasses or contact lenses that restore vision to each eye, yet this is not typical. Additionally, vision therapy to teach the eyes to work as a team or in some cases surgery might also be options.
Since amblyopia is caused by a problem with the proper development of the visual system, the younger the age of treatment, the higher the chance of improvement. However, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has amblyopia should consult as soon as possible with their eye care professional. If you are in need of lazy eye management in Temecula, CA, be in touch to schedule an appointment. Amblyopia doesn’t get better on its own so don’t wait to start treatment to restore your vision!