Lasik surgeons in Los Angeles have treated many children for an eye condition referred to as ‘lazy eye’, known in the medical field as amblyopia. It develops when the sight within one of the child’s eyes doesn’t form as it should.
What Causes Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is a vision development disorder that causes an eye to fail, preventing it from acquiring normal visual acuity, despite the use of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Normally, a lazy eye starts during infancy and early childhood. Lasik surgeons in Los Angeles noted that in many cases only one eye is affected. However, there have been some instances in which amblyopia has affected both eyes.
If the lazy eye is left untreated, the child’s brain will be trained to pay no attention to the image that comes from the respective damaged eye. If as a parent you allow this to happen, your child’s vision could be harmed permanently. Fortunately, if amblyopia is diagnosed early in life and treated immediately, impaired vision in the child can be prevented. On the other hand, an untreated lazy eye can lead to permanent loss of sight in the affected eye. Roughly 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population has some degree of lazy eye.
Here are the three types of lazy eye infants and children could be affected by:
Strabismic amblyopia: This is the most common cause of lazy eyes. To prevent double vision due to poorly aligned eyes, the brain will disregard the visual input from the misaligned eye, which results in amblyopia in the eye.
Refractive amblyopia: There are times when a lazy eye is caused by unequal refractive errors in the two eyes, despite perfect eye alignment. For instance, one eye could have significant nearsightedness or farsightedness, while the other eye does not. In this circumstance, the brain depends on the eye with the less uncorrected refractive error and ignores the blurred vision from the other eye. This results in amblyopia in that eye because it isn’t being used.
Deprivation amblyopia: Similar to a congenital cataract, certain lazy eyes can occur when light is prevented from entering and focusing within a baby’s eye.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Amblyopia?
Since amblyopia is often an issue of infant vision development, symptoms of a lazy eye can be a challenge to recognize. Most of the time, the common cause for lazy eye is because there is a misalignment of the eyes, otherwise known as strabismus.
Lasik surgeons in Los Angeles are adamant that if you notice your baby or toddler has crossed eyes or other obvious eye misalignments, book an appointment with an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
If you are on the fence on whether your child has a lazy eye or not, try to cover one of their eyes. If he or she throws a tantrum, then your child might have amblyopia. This is a simple screening test that can be done at home.
If your child stays calm and collected when one eye is covered but cries when the other is, this may mean that the covered eye is the “good” eye. Meaning the uncovered eye is lazy and causing cloudy vision.
Obviously, this simple at-home test can’t replace a thorough eye exam. Many eye doctors will agree that a child’s first eye exam should be at around 6 months to be certain their sight is developing properly and their eyes are synchronized.
How to Correct a Lazy Eye?
When the lazy eye is caused by refractive amblyopia (the eye has unequal refractive errors), seeing normally is possible by completely correcting refractive errors in both eyes with glasses or contact lenses. More often than not, the good eye has to wear a patch to force the brain to focus on the visual input from the lazy eye and make normal vision development possible in that eye.
Treating strabismic amblyopia (lazy eye that occurs with misaligned eyes) usually includes strabismus surgery to align the eyes, accompanied by regular use of an eye patch on the dominant eye and some method of vision therapy ( particular lazy eye exercises) to assist both eyes to work simultaneously.
The child may need to wear an eye patch for a duration of time to make the brain use the lazy eye normally. If the child has a habit of taking off the eye patch, you might want to think about getting a specially designed prosthetic contact lens that stops light from entering the good eye and does not alter your child’s appearance.
Even though prosthetic contact lenses are more expensive than eye patches and a contact lens exam and fitting are needed, they work very well in difficult circumstances of amblyopia treatment when the eye patch method doesn’t work.
Another method to treat lazy eye is with atropine eye drops. They work by blurring the vision in the good eye, causing the brain to have to use the eye affected with amblyopia. This strengthens the lazy eye without using eye patches or contact lenses.
If you think your child or you are suffering from amblyopia (lazy eye), do not hesitate to contact Excel Laser Vision Institute at + (818) 907-8606 to schedule a FREE evaluation.