In order to have adequate vision, the eyes need to function in cooperation with each other and with the brain. In instances when this process doesn’t function properly, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. In the majority of instances of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually healthy yet the condition cannot be corrected by just eyeglasses. When not treated appropriately amblyopia can result in serious visual disability, including blindness in the affected eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed cause of sight impairment in children. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental problem, the disorder can be challenging to detect. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the likelihood of complete vision restoration. Those that don’t begin to be treated until they are teenagers or adults often find that it can take longer and is less effective.
This is why it is important to have your child’s eyes and vision checked early on in development. The American Optometric Association suggests that children have a complete optometric exam by half a year and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Lazy Eye
Lazy eye occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are improperly aligned. Such misalignment can cause the eyes to cross in (esotropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Sometimes amblyopia is caused when the eyes have different levels of acuity. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is caused by other eye conditions such as a cataract or another pathological problem.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Amblyopia is treated by efforts to achieve normal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to using prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches entails strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the stronger. There are a number of ways to occlude the better eye and the treatment plan is chosen according to the patient’s situation and a consultation with an optometrist.
Very often doctors will prescribe a patch used to be worn over the strong eye. This compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual processing system to develop properly. However this treatment largely depends on cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be a problem especially in the case of children.
Some optometrists choose to use atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the better eye, this will temporarily impair the vision to force the preference of the weaker eye.
Occasionally patients can be treated by vision aides alone, such as prescription glasses or contacts that restore vision to each eye, yet this is rare. Further, vision therapy to teach the eyes to work in unison or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be suggested.
Because lazy eye is the result of a problem with the vision process, the younger the age of treatment, the higher the chance of improvement. However, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has amblyopia should consult immediately with their eye doctor If you are in need of lazy eye treatment in New York, NY, be in touch to book a visit. The sooner accurate diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to restore your vision!