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Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye is the lack of central vision development caused by the inability of both eyes to function in unison. With most instances of lazy eye the actual eyes are usually in good health however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just eyeglasses. If not treated appropriately lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, including loss of sight in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is the most common vision disorder in children. Since it typically starts as an early childhood developmental issue, the condition is often challenging to diagnose. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the likelihood of full recovery. Patients that don’t begin treatment until they are teenagers or adults don’t usually find as successful results as patients who start treatment earlier.
Therefore it is important to have your child’s vision tested at an early age. The American Optometric Association suggests that children receive a comprehensive optometric examination by half a year and again by three years of age.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Amblyopia can be caused by a number of conditions that affect normal development of the visual system or functioning of the eyes. The most 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. Sometimes amblyopia is caused when one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic than the other eye. This condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, lazy eye is the result of other optical diseases such as cataracts or another pathological impairment.
Lazy eye is treated by measures to achieve optimal visual acuity to both eyes. In addition to using prescription lenses, one of the most common approaches requires strengthening the weaker eye by inhibiting the use of the good eye. There are a number of options to occlude the better eye and the treatment is chosen depending on the individual circumstances and the decision of the eye care professional.
Frequently doctors will prescribe a patch used to be worn over the strong eye. A patch forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes proper sight in the weak eye and assists the visual processing system to develop properly. However success with patching is dependent upon cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be difficult with many children.
Some eye care professionals choose to use a drug known as atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the good eye, this will temporarily impair the sight to force the use of the weaker eye.
Other treatment options include vision therapy also known as orthoptics to train the eyes to coordinate with each other and sometimes surgery to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Special contact lenses or other aides to achieve better sight are also sometimes used.
Since amblyopia is caused by a problem with the vision process, the younger the age at which treatment starts, the higher the chance of success. Nevertheless, there have been many instances in which teenage patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has amblyopia should consult immediately with their eye care professional. If you are in need of amblyopia treatment in Crystal Lake, IL, contact us to schedule an appointment. Lazy eye doesn’t get better on its own so don’t delay in starting to restore your eyesight!