In order to have proper sight, the eyes and the brain must operate in unison. When this does not happen, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. In most instances of ambylopia the eyes themselves are typically in good health yet visual acuity cannot be achieved by just lenses. Left not treated appropriately amblyopia can cause serious visual disability, including loss of sight in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed cause of sight impairment in children. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental issue, the condition can be challenging to discern. Unless it is successfully treated at an early age, the likelihood of complete recovery is reduced. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for patients who begin prior to adolescence.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s vision checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a complete eye exam by the age of six months and again when the child turns three.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia can be the result of any condition that affects normal development of the visual system or use of the eyes. One 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. Amblyopia 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 the result of other eye diseases such as cataracts or some other pathological cause.
Amblyopia is treated by efforts to attain proper vision to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches involves forcing the child to use the eye with the reduced vision. A few treatment options exist to do this and the treatment is selected based on the patient’s situation and the decision of the eye care professional.
Frequently doctors will prescribe patching, where a patch is used to occlude the stronger eye. A patch forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the weaker eye and helps the visual processing system to develop properly. However this treatment is dependent upon compliance of the patient to use the patch, which can be a factor with many children.
An alternative to patching is the use of a drug called atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the better eye, this will impair the vision to force the patient to use the weaker eye.
Some vision can be improved by vision aides alone, such as prescription glasses or contact lenses that improve vision in each eye, yet this is rare. Further, vision therapy to teach the eyes to function in unison or in some cases surgery might also be tried.
Since amblyopia is the result of a disruption in the vision process, the younger the age of treatment, the higher the chance of success. Still, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has amblyopia should consult as soon as possible with their eye doctor If you are looking for lazy eye treatment in Long Beach, CA, be in touch to book an appointment. Amblyopia doesn’t get better on its own so don’t wait to start treatment to restore your vision!