In order to have adequate eyesight, it is necessary for the eyes to work in cooperation with each other and with the brain. When this system breaks down, a condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye, can result. In most instances of lazy eye the actual eyes are usually healthy but the condition cannot be corrected by just the use of prescription eyeglasses. If untreated lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, including loss of sight in one eye.
Lazy eye is the most common vision disorder in childhood. Given that it typically starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition is often difficult to detect. Unless it is successfully treated at an early age, the chance of obtaining normal eyesight is limited. Treatment is usually faster and more effective for those who start prior to entering pre-teen years.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s vision checked at a young age. The American Optometric Association suggests that children receive a comprehensive eye examination by the age of half a year and another at three years of age.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia can be caused by a number of conditions that affect normal eye and vision development. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. 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 one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. Occasionally, lazy eye is the result of other eye conditions such as a cataract or another structural cause.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Treating lazy eye is directed at attaining proper binocular vision. In addition to wearing prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches involves forcing the child to use the eye with the reduced vision. There are a few options to occlude the better eye and the treatment plan is chosen based on the individual situation and a consultation with an optometrist.
Very often you will see a patch used to cover the strong eye. A patch forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes vision in the underdeveloped eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop more completely. Nevertheless success using a patch greatly depends on compliance with wearing the patch, which can be a factor with many children.
Another option is the use of atropine. When placed in the stronger eye, atropine drops temporarily impair the sight and therefore force the use of the weaker eye.
Occasionally patients can be treated by vision aides alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that restore vision to each eye, however this is not typical. Further, vision therapy to train the eyes to operate together or in some cases surgery might also be options.
Since lazy eye is caused by a disruption in the vision process, younger patients often experience more success with treatment. Nevertheless, there have been many instances where older patients completed successful treatment 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 consultation in by an Austin optometrist be in touch to schedule a visit. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can help restore your sight!