As your child grows up, it is important to understand and recognize signs of amblyopia, also known as lazy eye. This pediatric condition occurs when your child’s vision doesn’t develop properly, and it’s usually seen in one eye. Since untreated lazy eye can lead to permanent vision problems, it’s critical that you recognize lazy eye and have an eye doctor attend to it as soon as it becomes apparent.
Why Does Amblyopia Develop?
If a child has one eye that is very farsighted or has severe astigmatism, the other eye takes on more of the responsibility to counteract the blurry images coming through the weak eye. Since the weak eye is essentially ignored, it becomes unutilized, leading to further vision deterioration. Other children form lazy eye because of ocular misalignment, a condition in which one eye turns inward or outward and prevents the eyes from focusing together on an image. Again, the child’s brain will choose to ignore the blurry image from the weak eye.
Treatment for Lazy Eye
It can be scary to know that your child’s vision is threatened, but lazy eye has standard treatments that are commonly successful. The first step is to force the brain to use the “bad” weak eye by placing a patch over the stronger eye. At first, your child will really struggle to see out of the weak eye. You can expect everything to be blurry and confusion. However, diligent patch-wearing will indeed improve vision in the weak eye and help reverse the lazy eye. Once vision in the lazy eye has returned to normal, your child’s eye doctor will guide you through a transition to ensure that vision remains strong in both eyes after the patch is removed.
Moving on From Amblyopia
As long as a lazy eye is treated early and you remain vigilant to any future vision problems, your child will gain normal vision. Since lazy eye is much harder to treat after the age of 7, early treatment is key. Many children with lazy eye end up needing glasses, but that’s not a problem!