Amblyopia or lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop appropriately due to the failure of the eyes to work together. In most cases of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually healthy however good vision cannot be achieved by just the use of prescription eyeglasses. Left untreated amblyopia can cause serious visual disability, including blindness in that eye.
Lazy eye is the most common cause of sight impairment in children. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be challenging to diagnose. Unless it is successfully treated early on, the chance of regaining normal eyesight is diminished. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for patients who start before the adolescent years.
Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes checked at a young age. The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive a comprehensive eye examination at six months 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, an imbalance in the positioning of the eyes. Strabismus 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. Occasionally, lazy eye is caused by other optical conditions such as a cataract or another structural impairment.
Lazy eye is treated by measures to achieve optimal vision to both eyes. In addition to using prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches entails strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the better eye. A few treatment options exist to occlude the good eye and the treatment plan is chosen depending on the patient’s circumstances anda consultation with an optometrist.
Very often you will see a patch used to cover the better eye. This compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop more completely. Nevertheless success using a patch largely depends on compliance of the patient to use the patch, which can be difficult particularly in the case of children.
Some eye doctors decide to use atropine. When applied to the better eye, atropine drops obscure the vision and therefore force the preference of the weaker eye.
Other treatment options include vision therapy to train the eyes to coordinate with each other and sometimes surgery to realign the eyes. Special contact lenses or other aides to improve vision are also sometimes employed.
Since amblyopia is caused by a disruption in the vision process, the younger the age at which treatment begins, the higher the chance of success. However, there have been many instances where older patients received successful treatment and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should consult as soon as possible with their optometrist If you are looking for amblyopia consultation by an optometrist in Salmon Arm, BC, be in touch to schedule a visit. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to restore your vision!