To achieve adequate vision, the eyes and the brain must function together. When this system breaks down, a condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye, can occur. With the majority of occurrences of ambylopia the actual eyes are usually in good health however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just lenses. If untreated lazy eye can result in serious visual disability, even blindness in that eye.
Lazy eye is the most common vision disorder in childhood. Usually beginning as an infant developmental issue, the disorder can be challenging to detect. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the likelihood of full vision restoration. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for those who start prior to entering adolescent years.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes tested early on in development. The American Optometric Association suggests that children receive a comprehensive eye examination at six months and again when the child turns three.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia may be caused by any condition that affects normal development of the visual system or use of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the positioning of the eyes. Such misalignment 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 is the result of a condition called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is the result of other eye conditions such as cataracts or some other structural impairment.
How is Amblyopia Treated?
Treating lazy eye is directed at attaining proper binocular vision. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, the most common way to do this entails strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the stronger. A few treatment options exist to occlude the better eye and the treatment plan is prescribed based on the individual circumstances and the decision of the eye care professional.
Very often you will see a patch used to cover the good eye. This forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes vision in the weaker eye and helps the visual processing system to develop more completely. Nevertheless this treatment is dependent upon cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
Some eye doctors decide to use atropine. When applied to the better eye, atropine drops impair the sight to force the use of the other eye.
Occasionally vision can be improved by vision devices alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contacts that improve vision in each eye, yet this is not typical. Additionally, vision therapy to train the eyes to work in unison or in some cases surgery might also be options.
Because lazy eye is the result of a disruption in the visual process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. Nevertheless, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has amblyopia should consult immediately with their eye doctor If you are looking for amblyopia management in San Jose, CA, be in touch to schedule a visit. Amblyopia doesn’t heal itself so don’t delay in starting to restore your eyesight!