Is Lazy Eye in Kids Treatable?
Amblyopia, better known as ‘lazy eye’, is the name given to a fairly common childhood condition which occurs when vision does not develop properly. It occurs when one or both eyes are unable to form a strong link to the brain. In most cases, it only affects one eye and this causes the child to rely more heavily on their ‘good eye’ – something which can actually make the condition worse since the weaker eye doesn’t have the opportunity to form stronger links.
Unfortunately, detecting a lazy eye isn’t always easy, particularly in very young children who are likely to be unaware that there is anything wrong with their vision since it is ‘normal’ for them. Even if they do realize that their vision is adversely affected, they may not yet have the communication skills to be able to relay this to you or your eye doctor.
What causes a lazy eye?
There are many different ways in which a child grows and develops during their earliest years. One of the things that should happen is that the eyes have to learn how to show the brain a clear image. However, sometimes there are issues with the eyes that prevent this from happening. There are three different types of lazy eye, each characterized by what has caused them. These are as follows:
By far the most common type of lazy eye, strabismic amblyopia occurs when the eyes are not straight and as a result, the brain automatically ignores the visual input from the lazy eye so that your child doesn’t experience double vision.
This type of lazy eye occurs when the way in which the two eyes refract light is different from one another. For example, a child may be able to see an object close by clearly in one eye but not the other, or one eye may have significant astigmatism and the other may not.
Deprivation amblyopia occurs when there is a reduction in the amount of light entering the eye, normally caused by an obstruction such as a congenital cataract.
Can a lazy eye be successfully treated?
The good news is that lazy eye can normally be treated, but exactly what treatment entails will depend on the cause of your child’s lazy eye. It also often involves various different stages.
In the case of strabismic amblyopia, children will often need to have surgery to straighten the eye/s that are affected, as well as a process known as patching. This is where your child’s ‘good’ eye is covered for a number of hours each day in order to force his brain to pay attention to the visual input from the amblyopic one. In doing this, the bond between the eye and brain is strengthened and normal vision begins to develop. Your child may also need a special form of vision therapy which will help his eyes work together properly.
In the case of refractive amblyopia, treatment usually involves a combination of patching, or in very young children, using atropine eye drops which blurs the vision in the ‘good’ eye so that your child has no choice but to use the amblyopic one which again will strengthen it. If your child has been diagnosed with deprivation amblyopia, there is a good chance he has congenital cataracts. If his vision is significantly impaired, you may be offered surgery to replace the clouded lens with a new, clear, healthy alternative.
If you are concerned that your child might have a lazy eye and would like the advice and support of an expert team, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Las Vegas offices today.