Amblyopia or lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop appropriately caused by the inability of the eyes to work in unison. With most occurrences of lazy eye the actual eyes are usually in good health however the condition is not correctable by just the use of prescription glasses. When not treated appropriately lazy eye can cause severe visual disability, including loss of sight in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed vision disorder in children. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental problem, the disorder can be challenging to discern. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the possibility of complete recovery. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for patients who begin prior to adolescence.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s eyes checked at an early age. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have a complete eye examination at half a year and again by age three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Lazy eye can be caused by any condition that affects normal eye and vision development. One common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are improperly aligned. Such misalignment can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Amblyopia can also be caused by a condition where one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is caused by other optical diseases such as a cataract or another pathological impairment.
Treatment for Amblyopia
Treatment for amblyopia aims to achieve normal binocular vision. Along with the use of prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches requires making the child use the eye with the reduced vision. There are a number of options to achieve this and the treatment plan is chosen based on the patient’s situation and a consultation with an eye doctor.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to cover the better eye. The patient is then forced to use the weak eye, which stimulates vision in the weak eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop properly. However this treatment greatly depends on cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be a factor especially in the case of children.
Some eye doctors decide to use a drug called atropine. When placed in the good eye, atropine drops obscure the vision and therefore stimulate the use of the other eye.
Additional treatment options include vision therapy to help the eyes to work together as a team and sometimes surgery to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Special contacts or other vision aides may also be used.
Since lazy eye is caused by a problem with the vision process, the younger the age of treatment, the higher the chance of improvement. Still, there have been many instances in which older patients received successful treatment and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with their optometrist If you are looking for amblyopia consultation in Nashua, NH, be in touch to book a visit. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can begin to restore your vision!