To achieve adequate sight, it is essential for the eyes to function in conjunction with each other and with the brain. In instances when this process doesn’t function properly, a condition called amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, can occur. In the majority of cases of ambylopia the eyes themselves are typically healthy yet the condition is not correctable by just the use of prescription glasses. If untreated amblyopia can result in serious visual disability, including loss of sight in one eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed vision disorder in children. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental issue, the disorder can be challenging to discern. The earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment begins the better the possibility of complete vision restoration. Patients that don’t begin to be treated until they are teenagers or adults don’t usually experience as successful results as patients who start treatment when they are young.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s vision checked early on in development. The American Optometric Association suggests that children have a comprehensive eye exam at six months and another by age three.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. The most common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the location of the eyes. Strabismus results in eyes that cross in (estropia) 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 condition is called anisometropia. On occasion, lazy eye is the result of other optical conditions such as a cataract or another pathological cause.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Amblyopia is treated by measures to achieve normal vision to both eyes. In addition to using prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches involves making the child use the weaker eye. There are a number of options to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment is selected depending on the patient’s circumstances and a consultation with an eye doctor.
Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to occlude the good eye. A patch forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates proper sight in the weak eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop properly. Nevertheless success using a patch is dependent upon cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be a factor especially in the case of children.
Some eye doctors choose to use a drug called atropine. When placed in the stronger eye, atropine drops blur the sight and therefore stimulate the preference of the other eye.
Some vision can be improved by vision aides alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that restore vision to each eye, however this is not usually the case. Additionally, vision therapy to train the eyes to work in unison or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be suggested.
Because lazy eye involves a disruption in the vision process, younger patients often experience more success with treatment. Still, there have been many cases where older patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has amblyopia should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with their eye doctor If you are in need of amblyopia consultation in Rye Brook, NY, be in touch to book an appointment. The sooner accurate diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can help repair your eyesight!