Amblyopia, more commonly known as a lazy eye, is a condition that is most popular in children and commonly occurs when the vision and physicality of one eye does not develop properly, leading to refusal of the brain to recognize visual input from that eye.
The good news is that most cases are treatable at a young age. It is most important to treat this condition early on, ideally during development. If the condition is not treated early on, the brain learns to function with the eye as is, and therefore ignores images that are captured by that eye causing it to become “lazy”.
What Causes Amblyopia?
There are three primary causes of Amblyopia. They are Strabismic Amblyopia, Refractive Amblyopia, and Deprivation Amblyopia.
- Strabismic Amblyopia
This is the most common cause of a lazy eye. It occurs when the focus in one eye is too strong, and the other’s focus is weak. The alignment of the eyes is poorly aligned, and to avoid double vision, the brain learns to ignore vision in the “lazy eye”.
- Refractive Amblyopia
If there are unequal refractive errors in the eyes, such as one eye has strong nearsightedness or farsightedness, and the other eye does not, it can lead to one eye becoming “lazy”. The brain learns to rely on the eye that has better vision, and ignores the poor vision of the other eye, causing it to develop refractive Amblyopia.
- Deprivation Amblyopia
This type of Amblyopia is caused by the obstruction of light in one eye. One example of an obstruction would be a congenital cataract. It is important that this is treated as early as possible to avoid permanent vision problems.
What are the symptoms and signs of Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is most commonly observed in children, which is why it may be important for you as a parent to be on the lookout for any problems in your infant’s development, and vital that you have your child’s vision checked at the appropriate age.
While your young child will likely not be able to communicate their symptoms to you, due to lack of verbal skills or lack of realization of the problem, it will be vital that you address any signs that you notice. If you observe any crossing of the eyes or misalignment, you should schedule an appointment with your Arlington eye doctor immediately.
What is the treatment for Amblyopia?
How the condition is treated is dependent upon the type of Amblyopia that your child has. In many cases, your doctor will attempt to correct any refractive errors in the eyes with glasses or contact lenses. In most cases, the doctor will need to further address the condition by teaching the brain to use the vision from the lazy eye again. This is executed by patching the eye with better vision, therefore forcing the brain to utilize the lazy eye.
In certain cases, particularly in Strabismic Amblyopia cases, strabismus surgery is necessary in order to straighten the alignment of the eyes. Following surgery, the better eye will be patched and vision therapy will be induced to help the eyes learn to work together.
There are also specially designed prosthetic contact lenses that prevent light from entering the good eye, which can help teach the eyes to work together. These are commonly used for young children who continuously remove the patch from their eye.
What is the next step?
If you suspect that your child is suffering from Amblyopia, you should take them in for an eye exam as soon as possible. The sooner you begin treatment, the easier and more successful treatment will be.
First Eye Care is a trusted and highly recommended vision center who will address you and your entire family’s visual health with confidence and care. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today.