To achieve optimal vision, the eyes need to work together with each other and with the brain. In instances when this process doesn’t function properly, a condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye, can occur. With the majority of cases of ambylopia the actual eyes are usually in good health but good vision cannot be achieved by just the use of prescription glasses. When untreated amblyopia can result in serious visual impairment, even loss of sight in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of sight impairment in children. Given that it typically starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be challenging to diagnose. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the possibility of full recovery. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for patients who start before adolescence.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes tested at an early age. The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive a comprehensive eye examination at six months and another when the child turns three.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia can be caused by a number of conditions that affect normal visual development or functioning of the eyes. One 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. Amblyopia can also be caused by a condition where one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This condition is called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is the result of other optical conditions such as a cataract or some other structural impairment.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Lazy eye is treated by efforts to restore normal vision to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription lenses, the most common way to do this entails strengthening the weaker eye by limiting the use of the good eye. There are a few alternatives to occlude the better eye and the treatment plan is prescribed according to the patient’s situation and the decision of the eye care professional.
Frequently you will see a patch used to be worn over the strong eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop more completely. Nevertheless this treatment largely depends on compliance of the patient to wear the patch, which can be difficult especially in the case of children.
An alternative to patching is the use of a drug called atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the strong eye, this will impair the sight to force the patient to prefer the other eye.
Occasionally patients can be treated by vision devices alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contacts that improve vision in each eye, yet this is rare. Additionally, vision therapy to train the eyes to function together or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be tried.
Since lazy eye is caused by a problem with the visual process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. Still, there have been many cases where older patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should consult as soon as possible with their optometrist If you are looking for lazy eye treatment in West Winfield, NY, be in touch to book an appointment. The sooner accurate diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can begin to restore your eyesight!