Amblyopia, commonly called lazy eye is the lack of central vision development caused by the failure of both eyes to function in unison. With most cases of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually healthy however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just lenses. When not treated amblyopia can cause serious visual disability, even blindness in one eye.
Lazy eye is the most common cause of sight impairment in children. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the disorder can be difficult to detect. Unless it is adequately treated at an early age, the chance of complete recovery is reduced. Those that don’t start to be treated until they are teenagers or adults don’t usually experience as successful results as patients who begin treatment early on.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes and vision tested early on in development. The American Optometric Association suggests that children receive a comprehensive optometric examination at six months and another by three years of age.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Lazy eye may be caused by any condition that affects typical eye and vision development. One common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the positioning of the eyes. Strabismus can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Lazy eye 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. On occasion, amblyopia is caused by other optical diseases such as cataracts or some other anatomical impairment.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
Lazy eye is treated by efforts to restore normal vision to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, the most common way to do this involves strengthening the weaker eye by inhibiting the use of the good eye. There are a number of ways to achieve this and the treatment plan is prescribed according to the patient’s circumstances and the decision of the optometrist.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is worn to occlude the better eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which promotes vision in the weaker eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop properly. Nevertheless success with patching greatly depends on compliance with wearing the patch, which can be a factor particularly in the case of children.
Some eye doctors opt to use atropine. When applied to the good eye, atropine drops obscure the vision to force the patient to use the other eye.
Alternatives to these treatments include vision therapy also known as orthoptics to train the eyes to work together as a team and in some cases a surgical procedure to realign the eyes. Specialized contact lenses or other vision aides may also be tried.
Because lazy eye involves a disruption in the vision process, younger patients often experience 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 schedule an appointment as soon as possible with their optometrist If you are looking for amblyopia treatment in Potomac, MD, be in touch to book an appointment. Amblyopia doesn’t heal itself so don’t wait to start treatment to restore your vision!