Amblyopia or lazy eye is a visual development disorder commonly seen in babies and young children. Our eye doctors at Lehigh Valley Eye Care Associates in Allentown, PA can diagnose and help treat this condition early to prevent it from progressing into adulthood, causing reduced vision, or resulting in permanent vision loss. Lazy eye treatment involves the use of prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, atropine drops, or eye patches to stimulate vision in the affected eye. Severe cases may require surgery.
Amblyopia Causes and Risk Factors
Approximately 2 to 3 out of every 100 children have vision impairment due to amblyopia according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). Any condition that prevents one or both eyes from focusing properly or causes the eyes to cross can result in a weak or "lazy eye." Lazy eye usually develops between birth and age 7 and typically affects the eye that failed to develop normal visual acuity.
Common causes are eye misalignment or strabismus and refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. A cloudy spot in the eye lens due to cataracts is another leading cause of visual deprivation in the affected eye. Your child may be at risk of developing a lazy eye due to premature birth, family history, or developmental disabilities.
Lazy Eye Signs and Symptoms
- Head tilting
- Blurred vision
- Favoring one eye
- Eyes that don't move together
- One eye wanders inward or outward
Lazy Eye Treatment in Allentown, PA
Treatment focuses on making the patient use the eye with weaker vision more. Our eye doctors will do a comprehensive optometric exam to check for differences in vision between the two eyes, wandering eye, and how your child reacts when one eye is covered (eye patch test). One of these lazy eye treatment options may be recommended depending on the severity of visual impairment:
- Corrective Eyewear: Glasses or contact lenses can correct lazy eye caused by nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
- Eye Patch: An eye patch is worn over the stronger eye for a few weeks or months to make your child use the weaker eye more. This strengthens the lazy eye, improves vision, and helps the part of the brain responsible for vision develop more completely.
- Atropine Eye Drops: Eye drops are an alternative to the eye patch and are used to temporarily blur vision in the stronger eye. This encourages your child to use the amblyopic eye.
- Surgery: Surgery may be necessary to repair the eye muscles if the child's eyes cross, wander apart, or has cataracts.
Schedule an Eye Exam with Our Eye Doctors Today
Protecting your child's vision involves getting their eyes examined at age 6 months, 3 years, and before starting school, as recommended by the American Optometric Association. Call Lehigh Valley Eye Care Associates in Allentown, PA, at 610-432-3258 to make an appointment.