Amblyopia—the clinical term for a lazy eye — is a condition in which one eye doesn’t achieve normal visual acuity, even with corrective lenses. At ABC Children’s Eye Specialists in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, the team of pediatric ophthalmologists and optometrists diagnose and treat amblyopia as early as possible to reduce the risk of impaired vision. Call ABC Children’s Eye Specialists or make an appointment online today.
Amblyopia is a vision development disorder that is often called a lazy eye. When one eye doesn’t work as well as the other, the brain can learn to ignore the signals coming from that eye and rely on the other fully functional eye. If left uncorrected, your child may experience vision loss because of insufficient stimulation of the nerve pathways between their eyes and brain.
Amblyopia typically affects infants, so it may be difficult to discern a problem. However, if you notice that your infant has strabismus — misaligned eyes — it could be an early sign of amblyopia, and you should make an appointment at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists.
Another sign that your child may have amblyopia is if they cry or fuss when you cover one of their eyes. For example, if you cover one of their eyes while they’re watching television and they complain or cry, but not when you cover the other eye, it could indicate a problem with the vision in one eye.
There are three causes of amblyopia.
Strabismic amblyopia is the most common type of the condition. If your child has strabismus, their brain may ignore the visual signals from the misaligned eye, which leads to amblyopia.
Refractive amblyopia develops when one eye has a significant refractive error, and the other doesn’t. When this happens, the brain may come to rely on the stronger eye and ignore or suppress the signals sent from the other, weaker eye.
Deprivation amblyopia develops when something blocks light from entering the eye. For example, if your baby is born with congenital cataracts, they may develop amblyopia if treatment or removal of the obstruction does not occur.
The ophthalmologists and optometrists at ABC Children’s Eye Specialists offer customized care to address your child’s amblyopia. After a comprehensive eye exam to diagnose the cause of the amblyopia, they begin therapy to improve your child’s vision.
In many cases, patching therapy forces the brain to focus and use the affected eye. During patching therapy, your child wears an eye patch over their “good” eye, which makes the brain use the visual input from the weaker eye and support healthy vision development. If your child can’t wear a patch or removes it, talk to your ophthalmologist about a special type of contact lens that can “block” the good eye while the weaker eye gets stronger. Your child may also benefit from corrective eyeglasses, vision therapy, or even surgery to correct strabismus.
If you’re concerned about your infant’s vision development, call ABC Children’s Eye Specialists or make an appointment online today.