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In order to have optimal vision, the eyes must operate in conjunction with each other and with the brain. In instances when this process doesn’t function properly, the result can be amblyopia or lazy eye. In most occurrences of ambylopia the eyes themselves are usually healthy but visual acuity cannot be achieved by just eyeglasses. When untreated amblyopia can cause severe visual impairment, even loss of sight in that eye.
Amblyopia is the most common vision disorder in childhood. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental problem, the condition is often challenging to discern. Unless it is successfully treated at an early age, the chance of obtaining normal vision is reduced. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for those who start before adolescence.
This is why it is important to have your child’s eyes checked at an early age. The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive a complete eye exam at half a year and again at age three.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia can be caused by a number of conditions that affect normal development of the visual system or functioning of the eyes. One 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 is the result of a condition called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is the result of other optical diseases such as a cataract or some other structural impairment.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Treating amblyopia aims to achieve proper binocular vision. In addition to using prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches involves strengthening the weaker eye by occluding the better eye. A few treatment options exist to do this and the treatment is selected based on the patient’s situation and the decision of the optometrist.
Frequently doctors will prescribe patching, where a patch is used to cover the stronger eye. The patient is then forced to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the weak eye and helps the visual processing system to develop more completely. Nevertheless this treatment largely depends on compliance of the patient to use the patch, which can be difficult especially with children.
Some eye care professionals choose to use a drug known as atropine. When applied to the stronger eye, atropine drops impair the sight to force the preference of the other eye.
Alternatives to these treatments include vision therapy also known as orthoptics to assist the eyes to coordinate with each other and in some cases a surgical procedure to realign the eyes. Specialized contact lenses or other sight aides are also sometimes used.
Because amblyopia is caused by a disruption in the proper development of the visual system, younger patients often experience more success with treatment. Nevertheless, there have been many cases in which teenage patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should consult as soon as possible with their eye doctor If you are in need of lazy eye treatment in Kennesaw, Georgia, be in touch to book an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can help restore your vision!