For adequate eyesight, it is necessary for the eyes to work in cooperation 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 result. With the majority of occurrences of lazy eye the actual eyes are typically in good health yet the condition cannot be corrected by just glasses. If not treated lazy eye can result in severe visual disability, including blindness in one eye.
Lazy eye is the most common vision disorder in children. Usually beginning in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be difficult to discern. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the likelihood of full vision restoration. Treatment is faster and more effective for those under the age of six.
This is why it is important to have your child’s vision tested early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a complete optometric examination at half a year and another by three years of age.
What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Lazy eye can be caused by a number of conditions that affect typical vision development or functioning of the eyes. The most common cause is strabismus, an imbalance in the location 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. On occasion, amblyopia is the result of other optical diseases such as cataracts or some other structural cause.
Treating Lazy Eye
Lazy eye is treated by efforts to achieve optimal visual acuity to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches requires strengthening the weaker eye by prohibiting the use of the good eye. A few treatment options exist to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment is prescribed depending on the patient’s circumstances and the decision of the optometrist.
Frequently you will see a patch used to cover the strong eye. A patch compels the patient to use the weaker eye, which stimulates vision in the weak eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop properly. However this treatment greatly depends on compliance with wearing the patch. If you live in the Fayetteville, NC area we would be delighted to see your child for an eye exam to rule out the possibility of lazy eye.