Lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, is a condition of the eye that often develops between birth and age 7. People with this condition have one weaker eye, which often wanders either outward or inward. Without treatment from a skilled optometrist, like our eye doctor at Epic Vision Eye Center, permanent vision loss in the weak eye can occur.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Certain factors can increase your child's risk for developing a lazy eye. These include:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Developmental disabilities
- Family history of lazy eye
What Are the Symptoms of Lazy Eye?
There are a few noticeable symptoms that children exhibit if they have a lazy eye. These include:
- An eye that wanders outward or inward
- Eyes that don't seem to be working together
- Squinting or closing the lazy eye
- Tilting their heads when trying to see objects in the distance
- Poor depth perception
- Abnormal vision screening results
How Is a Lazy Eye Diagnosed?
Your eye doctor can diagnose lazy eye during a dilated eye exam.
If your child cannot speak yet, an optometrist will use a flashlight to check to see how well your child can fix his gaze. An eye doctor will also check to see how well he can follow moving objects.
If your child can speak, an eye doctor will have your child read letters from a chart while wearing an eye patch to determine if he or she has a lazy eye.
How Is Lazy Eye Treated?
Early treatment is essential for treatment to be effective. This is because the connections between your child's eye and brain are still forming. It is best to begin treatment before your child is 7. Only half of the children who get treatment between the ages of 7 and 17 respond. The treatment options include:
- Glasses: Eyeglasses are often prescribed because most children with a lazy eye also are nearsighted, farsighted, or they have astigmatism.
- Eye patches: Your eye doctor may recommend that your child wear an eye patch for two to six hours each day. The patch covers the strong eye, forcing the weak eye to work harder.
- Bangerter filter: This is a special filter that is placed in a lens that covers the stronger eye, blurring vision and forcing the uncovered weaker eye to work harder.
- Frosted lens: A frosted lens works the same way an eye patch or a Bangerter filter does.
- Eye drops: If your children won't keep their glasses or eye patches on, putting atropine drops in your child's eye twice a week can help. The drops will make the stronger eye blurry, working the same way as the other treatment methods.
- Surgery: If your child's condition is severe, or if the other treatment methods aren't working, your eye doctor may recommend surgical intervention.
If your child has a lazy eye, our doctor of optometry at Epic Vision Eye Canter in Kansas and Missouri can help. We can treat the lazy eye early, ensuring both of your children’s eyes are working properly. Our number is 888-749-7755.