Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye is a deficiency in adequate vision development due to the failure of the two eyes to function in unison. In the majority of cases of ambylopia the eyes themselves are typically in good health however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just glasses. If not treated amblyopia can result in serious visual impairment, even loss of sight in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is the most common vision disorder in children. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental problem, the disorder is often challenging to discern. The earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment starts the better the chances of full vision restoration. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for those who begin before adolescence.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s vision tested at an early age. The American Optometric Association suggests that children have a comprehensive optometric exam by the age of half a year and again by three years of age.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Lazy eye can be the result of a number of conditions that affect typical visual development or use of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly 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 condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, lazy eye is the result of other eye diseases such as cataracts or some other structural cause.
Treatment for Amblyopia
Treatment for amblyopia is directed at attaining normal binocular vision. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches entails forcing the patient to use the eye with the reduced vision. There are a number of alternatives to do this and the treatment is chosen depending on the patient’s situation and the decision of the optometrist.
Very often you will see a patch used to cover the strong eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the weaker eye and helps the visual processing system to develop more completely. Nevertheless this treatment is dependent upon compliance of the patient to wear the patch, which can be difficult especially with children.
Another option is the use of a drug known as atropine. When placed in the better eye, atropine drops temporarily impair the sight and therefore force the preference of the other eye.
Other treatment options include vision therapy also known as orthoptics to assist the eyes to work together as a team and in some cases surgery to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Specialized contacts or other aides to achieve better sight are also sometimes tried.
Since amblyopia is caused by a problem with the visual process, younger patients often experience more success with treatment. However, there have been many cases where older patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has amblyopia should consult as soon as possible with their eye doctor If you are in need of lazy eye management call our optometrist in Memphis, TN, to book an appointment. Lazy eye won’t heal itself so don’t delay in starting to restore your eyesight!