At Advantage Eyecare in North Richland Hills, our eye doctor recommends that parents schedule an initial eye appointment for their child as early as six months of age. It is definitely necessary between the ages of three and five. This is because conditions such as amblyopia, or lazy eye, are the most common causes of vision loss in children. Finding the problem and getting treatment early offers your child the best chance of having better vision later in life. Lazy eye treatment is definitely more effective when it is done early.
What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is a neurological disorder in the sight region of the brain that causes the person with it to avoid using that eye. Often referred to as "lazy eye", it indicates that the good eye is often the one that is solely depended upon for sight because looking through the weaker eye is often a problem. Although some conditions can be corrected with glasses, amblyopia can not. The brain understands this and eventually blocks any data coming into that eye to allow the "good" eye a chance to see better.
What Causes Lazy Eye?
It isn't completely known what exactly causes lazy eye in all cases, but there are three very common factors in most cases.
- Misalignment: Some people are born with a crossed eye. This makes it difficult to see because each eye sees a different angle, often creating double-vision. The brain will adjust for this misalignment by cutting off the signals to one eye.
- Extreme visual difference: In some people, one eye may be extremely near-sighted or far-sighted. If one eye has a condition that affects the ability to see clearly and that condition can't be corrected or isn't corrected, the brain compensates by cutting off the vision in the bad eye in order to help the person see more clearly.
- Obstruction: The most common cause here is childhood cataracts. When something blocks light from entering one of the eyes, this will trigger a reaction in the brain to stop using that eye.
How Is Lazy Eye Treated?
The most common treatment for lazy eye is to have the child wear a patch over the "good" eye for at least part of the day. This forces the brain to use the weaker eye. There are eye drops that can be used to make the good eye blurry and force a person to use the weaker one. Finally, some surgical procedures may be in order, especially in the case of cataracts or a misalignment.
Early Diagnosis Offers the Best Outcome
If you suspect that your child may have a problem such as amblyopia and you are seeking lazy eye treatment, contact us at Advantage Eyecare in North Richland Hills as soon as possible. Our experienced eye doctor welcomes children, and we want to give them the best chance possible to see the world in all its beauty. Call us today to set up an initial exam and start your child on a road of quality eye care.