Eye problems are often associated with old age, but there are actually many young children who are born with or develop the condition called amblyopia, also known as lazy eye. It is important to recognize the signs of lazy eye and seek treatment as soon as possible in order to ensure your child’s full recovery.
What Is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia forms when one eye fails to develop properly. In most cases, one eye is able to focus much better than the other. This problem will lead your child’s brain to ignore the blurry image it receives and only focus on the image sent from the stronger eye. As a result, the weaker eye is not consistently used and engaged, and it becomes “lazy.” Strabismus is another common cause of lazy eye in which the eyes don’t line up together and the straighter eye becomes the more dominant one.
If your child is born with this condition, it is important to have it treated before the age of one so that poor vision habits do not have a chance to develop. There are many different treatments available that range from non-invasive to surgery. Glasses can be described to treat amblyopia that is caused by one eye having clearer, stronger vision than the other. Since glasses help to send two focused images to the brain, the brain learns to “switch on” the weaker eye and use it as normal vision develops.
An eye patch can also be used over the stronger eye to force the brain to use the weaker eye. In this case, your child would wear an eye patch between two to six hours a day for months or even year. If your child gives too much resistance to an eye patch, atropine drops can be used to blur out the vision of the strong eye and force the brain to recognize the images sent from the weaker eye.
If these less-invasive treatment options don’t work, surgery is always a possibility. A pediatric eye doctor can loose or tighten the muscles that cause the lazy eye to wander. This surgery has a very high success rate and does not require hospitalization. Very young children tend to sleep after surgery and wake up feeling and acting normal. Older children can be prescribed safe medicine for any pain they might experience.
To seek the very best lazy eye treatment for your own child, call (813) 876-1400 to schedule an appointment with Guggino Eye in Tampa Bay. Dr. Guggino is an experienced pediatric eye doctor who uses state-of-the-art care to ensure that your child has the best vision possible.