What is Lazy Eye? Treatment in West Haven, CT
Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye is the deficiency in central vision development caused by the failure of the eyes to work in unison. With most cases of ambylopia the eyes themselves are typically healthy but good vision cannot be achieved by just lenses. Left not treated lazy eye can cause serious visual disability, even blindness in that eye.
Lazy eye is the most frequently diagnosed cause of visual impairment in childhood. Usually beginning as an early childhood developmental issue, the condition can be challenging to diagnose. Unless it is successfully treated early on, the chance of complete recovery is reduced. Patients that don’t start to be treated until adolescence or adulthood don’t usually experience as successful results as patients who begin treatment earlier.
This is why it is crucial to have your child’s vision checked early on in development. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a complete eye exam at the age of half a year and another at three years of age.
What are the Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?
Lazy eye may be the result of a number of conditions that affect typical eye and vision development. One common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. Strabismus 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 is the result of a condition called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is caused by other eye diseases such as a cataract or some other pathological cause.
How is Lazy Eye Treated?
Treatment for lazy eye aims to achieve normal binocular vision. In addition to wearing prescription lenses, the most common way to do this entails strengthening the weaker eye by inhibiting the use of the good eye. A few treatment options exist to occlude the stronger eye and the treatment is chosen according to the individual situation and the decision of the optometrist.
Frequently you will see patching, where a patch is used to occlude the better eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the weak eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop properly. However this treatment is dependent upon compliance with wearing the patch, which can be a factor especially in the case of children.
Another option is the use of a drug known as atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the strong eye, this will temporarily obscure the vision and therefore stimulate the preference of the weaker eye.
Other treatment options include vision therapy to help the eyes to work together as a team and in some cases a surgical procedure to straighten out the alignment of the eyes. Special contact lenses or other aides to improve visual acuity are also sometimes tried.
Since amblyopia involves a problem with the vision process, the younger the age at which treatment starts, the more chance there is of improvement. However, there are many factors that are involved and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment as soon as possible with their eye care professional. If you are looking for amblyopia management in West Haven, CT, contact us to book an appointment. The sooner accurate diagnosis and treatment are started, the sooner we can begin to repair your eyesight!