Detecting lazy eye early is crucial to your child’s developmental process. As your little one grows, they rely on healthy eyesight to guide their first steps, interpret facial expressions, and speak and read. Without healthy visual skills, your child’s development may be delayed, leading to problems both inside and outside of the classroom.
What Is Pediatric Amblyopia?
Lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, is a vision development disorder that prevents one or both of the eyes from reaching optimal visual acuity, even with the best prescription for glasses in place.The affected eye will have trouble seeing objects clearly, especially moving objects and those that are similar in brightness to their background. The disorder is referred to as “pediatric amblyopia” when diagnosed in children.
Here are three types of amblyopia that may impact your child’s visual health.
The most common form of lazy eye, strabismic amblyopia results from the brain’s attempt to avoid double vision caused by eye misalignment. The brain turns off visual input from the misaligned eye, causing it to be ”lazy.”
Even if the eyes are perfectly aligned, unequal refractive errors can cause the brain to rely on one eye and neglect the other. In this situation, the brain will use the less affected eye and shut off visual input from the eye that’s significantly nearsighted, farsighted, or has an astigmatism.
This form of lazy eye develops when something prevents light from entering and being focused in the eye, such as a congenital cataract. In this case, cataract surgery is necessary to prevent a lazy eye disability.
How to Tell if Your Child Has a Lazy Eye
Treating pediatric amblyopia early on can save your child from long-term reduced vision, but symptoms of lazy eye can be hard to detect in infants and children. Watch out for these common signs of pediatric amblyopia.
Strabismus, a condition that causes the eyes to be misaligned (crossed in or out), commonly leads to amblyopia. Look at your infant or child’s eyes to see if they are crossed or misaligned.
Perform a simple vision test on your child by covering one of their eyes while they perform an everyday task. If they react strongly to one eye being covered, the uncovered eye may be failing to reach visual acuity, causing blurred and fuzzy vision.
Lazy Eye Treatments and Exercises
Treatment options and exercises vary depending on the type of amblyopia. Possible solutions include the use of eye patches, prosthetic contact lenses, atropine drops, and sometimes surgery.
Using eye patches is a supplemental measure in addition to vision therapy and any needed glasses correction that encourage the brain to interpret visual input from the eye that is not covered (the lazy eye). With an eyepatch over the good eye, your child can begin to develop normal vision in the lazy eye as long as visual training is introduced properly with both eyes so the brain can get accustomed to continued use of this eye with both eyes open. If your child has strabismic or refractive amblyopia, other exercises and procedures may be required before the use of an eye patch.
Prosthetic Contact Lenses
These lenses are an option if your child is uncomfortable wearing an eye patch. Prosthetic contact lenses prevent light from entering the good eye and have the same effect as an eye patch without any of their cumbersome side effects.
Atropine drops work like eye patches and prosthetic lenses by turning off vision in the good eye, forcing the lazy one to learn to input visual information. Your doctor will measure specific factors to see if this option is medically needed for your child.
Surgery may aid treatment in highly misaligned eyes for strabismic amblyopia. Surgery can also treat deprivation amblyopia by removing obstacles to light from the eye.
If your child has amblyopia, they may benefit from vision therapy for lasting, noninvasive treatment results for their reduced eye sight and misalignment of the eye with amblyopia. With the help of a certified optometrist, your child can correct their vision problems and improve their visual skills.
Contact OCVT Today
Eighty percent of what your child learns is processed through vision, which is why we recommend they complete a vision examination at six months, three years, and five years. If you suspect your child may have amblyopia, schedule a complimentary consultation appointment with us today. One of our certified optometrists will determine the best course of action in regaining your child’s visual health so they can see clearly and confidently in both eyes.