For adequate vision, it is necessary for the eyes to operate together with each other and with the brain. When this system breaks down, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. With the majority of cases of ambylopia the actual eyes are usually in good health however visual acuity cannot be achieved by just lenses. Left untreated amblyopia can cause severe visual impairment, even loss of sight in the affected eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed vision disorder in children. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be challenging to detect. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the chances of complete recovery. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for those who start prior to the pre-teen years.
This is why it is important to have your child’s vision checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should receive a comprehensive eye examination at half a year and another when the child turns three.
Causes of Amblyopia
Lazy eye can be caused by any condition that affects normal development of the visual system or use of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. Such misalignment results in eyes that cross in (estropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Sometimes amblyopia is caused when the eyes have different levels of acuity. This condition is called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is caused by other optical diseases such as cataracts or another pathological impairment.
Treatment for Amblyopia
Treatment for amblyopia is directed at attaining proper binocular vision. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, the most common way to do this involves making the patient use the eye with the reduced vision. There are a few ways to do this and the treatment plan is prescribed based on the individual situation and a consultation with an optometrist.
Frequently doctors will prescribe patching, where a patch is used to cover the stronger eye. This forces the patient to use the weaker eye, which promotes vision in the weak eye and assists the visual system in the brain develop properly. Nevertheless success with patching largely depends on cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be a problem especially with children.
An alternative to patching is the use of a drug called atropine. When placed in the stronger eye, atropine drops blur the sight to stimulate the use of the weaker eye.
Occasionally patients can be treated by vision devices alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contacts that improve vision in each eye, yet this is not typical. Additionally, vision therapy to teach the eyes to work as a team or in some cases a surgical procedure might also be suggested.
Since lazy eye involves a problem with the vision process, younger patients often show more success with treatment. Nevertheless, there have been many cases where older patients completed successful treatment and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment immediately with their eye doctor If you are in need of amblyopia treatment in Knoxville, TN, contact us to schedule an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to restore your sight!