Lazy Eye

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What Is the Cause of Lazy Eye?

With increased awareness, early vision screening and referral, and timely diagnosis and management of amblyopia, proper visual acuity can be restored. Drawing on their wide experience, Children's National pediatric ophthalmologists will design an individualized treatment plan for each child. Amblyopia, often called "lazy eye" is poor sight in a normal eye. During early childhood, a child's brain actively develops its visual pathways from the eyes to the visual processing center. This process occurs from the first month of life until around 8 to 10 years of age, after which the pathways are permanently set.

If development of the visual pathways is impeded, the affected eye may never develop good vision. Some of the most common causes of amblyopia include various forms of strabismus misalignment of the eyes , uncorrected refractive errors, newborn cataracts, or ptosis "droopy eyelid".

Amblyopia: What Is Lazy Eye?

There may be no symptoms. Because vision problems from amblyopia affect only one eye, the child may function with one good eye and be unaware of the problem. Early detection is important. A visual acuity test is an important screening tool.

These tests are performed at schools, health fairs, and primary care clinics, usually beginning around 3 or 4 years of age. If there are concerns regarding visual acuity, a full eye exam is needed. Treatment of amblyopia at Children's National is designed to both address the underlying cause and help the brain use the eye that has been effectively ignored. Based on their extensive experience, Children's pediatric ophthalmologists will carefully individualize each child's treatment timeline and regimen, taking into account what is most suitable for the condition, the child's age and temperament, and the family's dynamics.

Treatment of amblyopia may involve the use of patching or atropine drops in the good eye to encourage the brain to use the affected eye more, making its visual development stronger. Patching can be a challenge for any parent and child.

Lazy eye (amblyopia): Symptoms, causes, and treatment

Most children with amblyopia are too young to appreciate the benefits of patching and it can be an annoyance. Adhesive patches, available at most pharmacies, are the gold standard for treatment. Some patients may be able to use atropine eye drops instead, depending on the type and severity of their amblyopia. There are rare occasions when felt patches also can be used. The good news about amblyopia is that it can be a very treatable disease, leading to improved vision, if effectively addressed in a timely manner. Treatment may be needed throughout childhood to best treat the child and timely follow-up is of crucial importance.

Follow-up appointment intervals may range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the age of the child, type of amblyopia, and severity of the disease. All members of the Pediatric Ophthalmology Team are trained to detect, properly diagnose, and manage strabismus in children and adults. Our specialized pediatric ophthalmologists are experts at recognizing and treating complex eye conditions in infants and children.

What is amblyopia?

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Symptoms include:. The NHS recommends that all children should have vision screening during their first year at school. This is done in school, usually by a school nurse, and should pick up vision problems including amblyopia. If your child misses the school screening, you should take them to your local optometrist for a sight test.

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This will be paid for by the NHS. It is more difficult to treat lazy eye once the eyesight has finished developing usually around the age of seven , but it may still be possible to significantly improve the vision in the weaker eye.

The aim of treatment is to stimulate the vision to develop in the lazy eye by enabling the child to use the eye more. The treatment depends on what is causing the lazy eye:. Who is affected by amblyopia lazy eye? Children with learning difficulties are ten times more likely to have problems with their vision, including amblyopia What are the symptoms of amblyopia lazy eye? Symptoms include: one eye turning in or out. This may be more noticeable if the child is tired or unwell being clumsy or having poor hand to eye coordination screwing up their eyes or shutting an eye complaining about double vision, or having unexplained headaches.

How do you treat amblyopia lazy eye?