Amblyopia or lazy eye can affect the vision of your child if left untreated. In addition to this, it can also cause them to be self-conscious as they grow up among their peers. Here's how early intervention can correct the vision disorder and help preserve your child's sight.
Amblyopia, commonly referred to by its colloquial name of lazy eye, is a developmental vision disorder that typically affects infants. As a result, the visual acuity of the eye in question is unable to achieve normal development. While the condition usually only affects one eye, it can occur in both. If left untreated, a child suffering from amblyopia may experience reduced or severely compromised vision in the affected eye.
The main signs and symptoms of amblyopia are:
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
- Crying or fussing when covering one eye of your infant or child
While the two above signs or symptoms may alert you to amblyopia in your child, it's notoriously difficult to determine if infants are indeed suffering from an eye disorder and not something else. That is why it is imperative to get your child's eyes and vision tested for the first time once they reach the age of six months.
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Treatments for Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
In instances where refractive amblyopia is the cause of lazy eye in an infant, the disorder may be fully corrected by just using eyeglasses or contact lenses. That being said, an eye patch is still usually used on the unaffected eye to make the brain focus more on the amblyopic eye to encourage and facilitate standard vision development within it.
When amblyopia is caused by strabismus (crossed eyes), surgical intervention to straighten the eyes is generally recommended. Once the surgery has been completed, eye patching and vision therapy generally follow to help the eyes function as one.
Another treatment method for amblyopia or lazy eye involves the use of atropine eye drops. These eye drops take the place of an eye patch and work by blurring the vision within the good eye, making your infant or child have to use their amblyopic eye more, which in turn will strengthen it. This treatment method is especially beneficial for children who continually remove their eye patch.
Are you looking for advanced eye care in NE or SE Calgary or the town of Three Hills? My Optometrist Calgary has a team of experienced and friendly optometrists across our three locations to better serve the vision needs and ocular health of our wonderful communities. Contact us today to book an appointment so we can help safeguard your sight, because life is worth seeing.
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Later Intervention Is Proving to Be Successful
It used to be thought that if amblyopia wasn't treated early on in a child's life, then improving their visual acuity was not possible. However, recent developments show that there is still a chance to treat the disorder in older children and even adults who have been suffering from it for the majority of their life.
The treatments being used for these older amblyopia sufferers centres around using computer programs that help to improve visual acuity and contrast sensitivity by stimulating neural changes. Optometrists who specialize in pediatric eye care or vision therapy are the ones who tend to have these sorts of computer programs available for their patients.
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Early Intervention Is Still Best
Despite the developments in later stage treatment for amblyopia or lazy eye, early detection and intervention is still the best course of action when it comes to correcting the vision disorder. Most eye doctors recommend getting your child's eyes and vision examined for the first time once they reach the age of six months, then again when they reach the age of three and once more before entering first grade. After that, it's recommended that your child receive a comprehensive eye exam every two years, so long as they do not require any vision correction.
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If you have any questions or concerns about your child's eye health or vision, My Optometrist Calgary has you covered with our advanced pediatric eye care. Contact one of our My Optometrist Calgary clinics at either 403-256-0606 (Health First Optometry), 403-291-0923 (Sunridge Vision Centre), or 403-443-2040 (Three Hills Optometry).