Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye is a deficiency in adequate vision development due to the inability of the eyes to work in unison. In the majority of cases of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually in good health yet the condition is not correctable by just the use of prescription eyeglasses. When not treated amblyopia can result in severe visual impairment, including blindness in the affected eye.
Lazy eye is the most common vision disorder in childhood. Since it usually starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be challenging to detect. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the possibility of complete vision restoration. Those that don’t start to be treated until adolescence or adulthood often find that it can take much longer and is less effective.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s vision checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a comprehensive eye examination by six months and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Amblyopia
Lazy eye occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. The most common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the positioning of the eyes. Strabismus results in eyes that cross in (estropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Amblyopia can also be caused by a condition where the eyes have different levels of acuity. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is caused by other optical conditions such as cataracts or some other pathological problem.
How is Amblyopia Treated?
Amblyopia is treated by measures to attain normal vision to both eyes. In addition to using prescription lenses, the most common way to do this involves making the child use the eye with the reduced vision. A few treatment options exist to occlude the good eye and the treatment plan is chosen according to the individual situation and the decision of the optometrist.
Frequently doctors will prescribe patching, where a patch is used to occlude the good eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes vision in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual processing system to develop properly. However success using a patch is dependent upon cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be difficult especially with children.
An alternative to patching is the use of a drug known as atropine. When applied to the good eye, atropine drops blur the vision and therefore force the patient to prefer the other eye.
Additional treatment options include vision therapy also known as orthoptics to train the eyes to coordinate with each other and sometimes surgery to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Specialized contacts or other aides to achieve better sight may also be tried.
Since amblyopia involves a disruption in the proper development of the visual system, the younger the age at which treatment starts, the higher the chance of improvement. Still, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has lazy eye should consult as soon as possible with their optometrist If you are in need of lazy eye consultation in Escondido, CA, be in touch to book a visit. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can help restore your eyesight!
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