In order to have adequate eyesight, the eyes and the brain must function as a team. In instances when this system breaks down, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. In most instances of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually in good health however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just the use of prescription glasses. Left untreated lazy eye can cause severe visual impairment, even blindness in one eye.
Amblyopia is the most common vision disorder in childhood. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder can be challenging to discern. The sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment starts the greater the chances of full recovery. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for those who start prior to adolescence.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s eyes and vision checked at a young age. The American Optometric Association suggests that children receive a comprehensive optometric examination by six months and another at age three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Amblyopia may be the result of any condition that affects normal eye and vision development. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are improperly aligned. Strabismus 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 the eyes have different levels of acuity. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is caused by other eye conditions such as cataracts or some other pathological problem.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
Lazy eye is treated by efforts to restore optimal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to wearing prescription lenses, the most common way to do this entails making the patient use the weaker eye. There are a few alternatives to achieve this and the treatment is prescribed based on the patient’s circumstances and a consultation with an eye care professional.
Frequently you will see a patch used to cover the better eye. This forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop more completely. However this treatment greatly depends on cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
Some optometrists decide to use atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the better eye, this will obscure the vision and therefore force the preference of the weaker eye.
Some vision can be improved by vision devices alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contacts that improve vision in each eye, yet this is not typical. Additionally, vision therapy to teach the eyes to work together or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be tried.
Because amblyopia involves a problem with the visual process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. Still, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should consult immediately with their eye care professional. If you are looking for lazy eye consultation in Costa Mesa, CA, be in touch to book a visit. The sooner accurate diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can help repair your eyesight!