Did you know that amblyopia is the most common cause for vision loss in children? Nearly 3% of children are diagnosed with amblyopia. Here at The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy, we are dedicated to the early detection and treatment of amblyopia, and want to help educate our patients on the signs, symptoms, and treatment options associated with this condition.
What is amblyopia?
Amblyopia, commonly referred to as “lazy eye”, occurs when one or both eyes do not develop as they should during childhood. Typically one eye will be stronger than the other, causing poor vision in the weaker eye. This condition can progress as the brain will rely more and more on the stronger eye, causing the other to become weaker over time.
Early detection and treatment of amblyopia is essential to the healthy development of vision throughout childhood, and we are committed to helping our young patients so that they can experience the best vision possible.
There are a few conditions that can contribute to the onset of amblyopia in a child such as strabismus (crossed- eye), refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, etc.), drooping eyelids, and/or cataracts. However, it is possible to be diagnosed with amblyopia without having any of these pre-existing conditions.
How can it be treated?
If the patient has underlying conditions such as those listed above, our first plan of action will be to treat the vision problem contributing to the amblyopia.
Next, we will work to help retrain the eyes and brain to work together to establish strong and equal vision in both eyes. We may recommend wearing an eye patch over the stronger eye to help strengthen the vision in the weaker eye. In some cases, we may also recommend prescription eye drops that will temporarily blur the vision in the stronger eye and train the brain to use the other.
Treatment can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and follow-up appointments and treatments may be necessary to ensure that your child is maintaining optimal vision. By seeking treatment early in childhood, you can help your child prevent long-term vision issues.
What steps can I take to help my child?
Here at The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy, we specialize in helping patients with conditions like amblyopia, and strive to educate patients and parents on preventative measures that can be taken.
Early detection is key to preventing permanent vision problems and the improvement or correction of amblyopia. Amblyopia is much harder to treat in adults, so it is important that your child has routine vision screenings done by an optometrist beginning at age 3. While your child may have vision screenings at school, it is always recommended to schedule additional examinations and screenings with your doctor as they are typically more conclusive.