Amblyopia, commonly referred to as lazy eye, is a condition that occurs when one or both eyes do not develop normal vision during early childhood. When one eye doesn’t work as well as the other, the brain can learn to ignore the signals coming from the weaker eye and rely on the stronger eye. If left uncorrected, the patient may experience partial or total vision loss.
There are three types of lazy eye:
Strabismic Amblyopia is the most common type of lazy eye, typically presented as a crossed or misaligned eye. For a child with strabismus, their brain may ignore the visual signals from the misaligned eye, which can lead to amblyopia.
Refractive Amblyopia develops when one eye has a significant refractive error, and the other does not. When there is a vast difference in prescription between the two eyes, it is difficult for the brain to merge the two images together. When this happens, the brain may come to rely on the stronger eye and ignore the signals sent from the weaker eye.
Deprivation Amblyopia develops when something obstructs or prevents light from entering the eye. Any condition (such as congenital cataracts) that prevents a clear image from being focused inside the eye can lead to the development of amblyopia.
How is lazy eye corrected?
With early diagnosis and treatment, improved sight in a lazy eye is possible. However, in the worst cases, an untreated eye may be left functionally blind.
Treatments for lazy eye include:
- Patching or covering the strong eye: this method forces the weaker eye to work harder, naturally strengthening its ability to move and focus
- Contact lenses and glasses: corrects the discrepancy of near- or farsightedness between the eyes
- Surgery: Realigns muscles in the eyes, a more expensive and risky option than other forms of treatment
Although vision improvements are possible at any age with proper treatment, early detection and treatment offer the best possible results. To learn more or to schedule an examination, contact Pendleton Eye at 760-758-2008 or website.