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What is Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)? Treatment in St. Louis, MO

Amblyopia or lazy eye is the failure for central vision to develop appropriately caused by the inability of the two eyes to function in unison. In the majority of occurrences of lazy eye the eyes themselves are typically in good health yet the condition is not correctable by just glasses. When not treated appropriately amblyopia can result in severe visual disability, even blindness in that eye.

Amblyopia is the most frequently diagnosed cause of sight impairment in children. Given that it typically starts as an infant developmental issue, the disorder can be difficult to detect. Unless it is successfully treated early on, the chance of obtaining normal eyesight is diminished. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for patients who start prior to entering adolescent years.

Therefore it is crucial to have your childs eyes checked at an early age. According to the AOA (American Optometric Association) children should have a complete optometric exam by the age of six months and again at three years of age.

Causes of Amblyopia

Lazy eye may be caused by a number of conditions that affect normal eye and vision development. The most common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. Such misalignment results in eyes that cross in (estropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore arent able to work together. Amblyopia can also be caused by a condition where the eyes have different levels of acuity. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. Occasionally, amblyopia is the result of other eye diseases such as cataracts or another pathological cause.

How is Lazy Eye Treated?

Amblyopia is treated by measures to attain proper visual acuity to both eyes. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches requires making the patient use the eye with the reduced vision. A few treatment options exist to do this and the treatment is chosen based on the patients circumstances andthe decision of the optometrist.

Very often doctors will prescribe a patch used to cover the strong eye. The patient is then forced to use the weak eye, which promotes proper sight in the underdeveloped eye and helps the visual system in the brain develop properly. Nevertheless this treatment is dependant upon compliance of the patient to use the patch, which can be a problem with many children.

Another option is the use of atropine. When a drop of atropine is placed in the better eye, this will impair the sight to force the patient to prefer the other eye.

Other treatment options include vision therapy to help the eyes to work together as a team and in some cases surgery to realign the eyes. Special contact lenses or other vision aides are also sometimes tried.

Because lazy eye is caused by a problem with the proper development of the visual system, younger patients often experience more success with treatment. Nevertheless, there have been many cases in which older patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who suspects they or their child has lazy eye should schedule an appointment immediately with their eye doctor If you are looking for lazy eye treatment in St. Louis, MO, be in touch to book an appointment. The sooner proper diagnosis and treatment are underway, the sooner we can help repair your eyesight!