Amblyopia or lazy eye is a deficiency in adequate vision development due to the failure of both eyes to work together. In the majority of cases of ambylopia the eyes themselves are usually in good health yet good vision cannot be achieved by just glasses. Left not treated lazy eye can cause severe visual disability, even loss of sight in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed cause of visual impairment in childhood. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental issue, the condition is often difficult to detect. The sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment starts the greater the possibility of full recovery. Patients that don’t start treatment until they are teenagers or adults often experience that it can take much longer and is less effective.
This is why it is important to have your child’s vision checked early on in development. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have a complete optometric examination by the age of half a year and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia can be caused by a number of conditions that affect normal vision development or functioning of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the positioning of the eyes. 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, amblyopia is the result of other eye conditions such as cataracts or some other structural cause.
Treatment for Amblyopia
Amblyopia is treated by efforts to achieve optimal visual acuity to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription lenses, the most common way to do this requires making the patient use the weaker eye. There are a few alternatives to do this and the treatment plan is selected depending on the patient’s circumstances and a consultation with an optometrist.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to cover the better eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop more completely. However this treatment largely depends on cooperation of the patient to wear the patch, which can be a factor especially with children.
Some eye doctors opt to use atropine. When applied to the better eye, atropine drops temporarily obscure the sight to force the patient to use the weaker 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. Specialized contacts or other sight aides are also sometimes tried.
Since amblyopia is the result of a disruption in the vision process, younger patients often experience more success with treatment. Nevertheless, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment immediately with their eye doctor If you are looking for lazy eye management in Cincinnati, OH, be in touch to book a visit. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can begin to restore your sight!