Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop properly due to the inability of the two eyes to work in unison. With the majority of instances of ambylopia the actual eyes are usually in good health however good vision cannot be achieved by just glasses. When untreated lazy eye can cause serious visual impairment, including blindness in that eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed cause of sight impairment in childhood. Given that it typically starts as an early childhood developmental problem, the condition is often challenging to detect. The earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment starts the better the chances of complete vision restoration. Those that don’t begin to be treated until adolescence or adulthood don’t usually find as successful outcomes as those who begin treatment early on.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s eyes checked early on in development. The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive a complete optometric examination at the age of half a year and again when the child turns three.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia may be the result of a number of conditions that affect typical visual development or functioning of the eyes. 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 the eyes have different levels of acuity. This condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is the result of other optical conditions such as a cataract or some other pathological problem.
How is Amblyopia Treated?
Amblyopia is treated by measures to achieve normal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to wearing prescription lenses, the most common way to do this involves strengthening the weaker eye by inhibiting the use of the stronger. A few treatment options exist to do this and the treatment plan is chosen according to the individual situation and a consultation with an eye doctor.
Frequently you will see a patch used to cover the good eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates vision in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual processing system to develop properly. Nevertheless success with patching largely depends on compliance of the patient to use the patch, which can be a problem with many children.
Some optometrists choose to use atropine. When applied to the good eye, atropine drops impair the vision to force the use of the other eye.
Occasionally vision can be improved by vision aides alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contacts that restore vision to each eye, yet this is not typical. Further, vision therapy to teach the eyes to operate together or in some cases surgery might also be suggested.
Because amblyopia is the result of a problem with the proper development of the visual system, younger patients often show more success with treatment. Still, there have been many instances in which older patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has amblyopia should consult immediately with their optometrist If you are in need of amblyopia management in Centreville, VA, contact us to schedule an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can help repair your vision!