Amblyopia or lazy eye is a deficiency in adequate vision development caused by the failure of both eyes to function together. In the majority of occurrences of ambylopia the actual eyes are typically healthy however good vision cannot be achieved by just eyeglasses. When untreated lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, even blindness in one eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed cause of sight impairment in childhood. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental problem, the disorder is often difficult to discern. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the chances of full vision restoration. Those that don’t start treatment until adolescence or adulthood often experience that it can take much longer and is less effective.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a comprehensive optometric examination by the age of half a year and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Lazy eye occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. The most common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the location of the eyes. Strabismus 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. On occasion, lazy eye is caused by other optical diseases such as a cataract or another anatomical impairment.
Amblyopia is treated by efforts to attain proper vision to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches entails strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the better eye. A few treatment options exist to occlude the good eye and the treatment plan is chosen depending on the individual situation and the decision of the optometrist.
Very often doctors will prescribe a patch used to cover the strong eye. This compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the weak eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop properly. However this treatment greatly depends on compliance with wearing the patch, which can be a problem with many children.
Some eye care professionals opt to use atropine. When placed in the good eye, atropine drops blur the vision to force the patient to prefer the weaker eye.
Additional treatment options include vision therapy to help the eyes to work together as a team and sometimes a surgical procedure to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Special contacts or other vision aides are also sometimes used.
Because amblyopia is the result of a problem with the proper development of the visual system, younger patients often experience more success with treatment. However, there have been many instances in which teenage patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with their eye care professional. If you are looking for lazy eye consultation in Ramsey, NJ, contact us to book a visit. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can help restore your eyesight!