Amblyopia, commonly called lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop properly due to the failure of both eyes to function in unison. In the majority of instances of lazy eye the eyes themselves are typically healthy yet the condition cannot be corrected by just the use of prescription lenses. When untreated lazy eye can result in severe visual impairment, including loss of sight in the affected eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed cause of sight impairment in children. Given that it usually starts as an early childhood developmental problem, the disorder can be difficult to diagnose. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the chances of full vision restoration. Patients that don’t start to be treated until they are teenagers or adults often find that it takes far longer and is less effective.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes and vision checked at an early age. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have a complete eye examination at the age of half a year and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Amblyopia occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. One common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the location of the eyes. Such misalignment results in eyes that cross in (estropia) 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, lazy eye is caused by other eye diseases such as a cataract or some other structural problem.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Lazy eye is treated by efforts to attain normal vision to both eyes. In addition to using prescription eyeglasses or contacts, the most common way to do this entails strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the better eye. A few treatment options exist to occlude the better eye and the treatment is chosen depending on the patient’s circumstances and a consultation with an optometrist.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to occlude the better eye. A patch forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes vision in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual processing system to develop properly. Nevertheless this treatment largely depends on cooperation of the patient to wear the patch, which can be a factor especially with children.
Some optometrists opt to use a drug known as atropine. When placed in the good eye, atropine drops temporarily obscure the sight to force the preference of the weaker eye.
Some patients can be treated by vision aides alone, such as prescription glasses or contact lenses that restore vision to each eye, yet this is rare. Additionally, vision therapy to teach the eyes to function in unison or in some cases surgery might also be options.
Because amblyopia is caused by a problem with the proper development of the visual system, the younger the age at which treatment begins, the higher the chance of success. However, 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 eye doctor If you are looking for amblyopia treatment in Bronx, NY, contact us to book a visit. Lazy eye doesn’t get better on its own so don’t wait to start treatment to restore your vision!