As a parent, you most likely want your child to be healthy and happy. You may already feed your children a healthy diet and make sure they get plenty of exercise, but they may still develop certain conditions that affect their underlying wellness. While shocking to learn, 2 to 3 out of every 100 children develop amblyopia. Also known as "lazy eye," amblyopia is the most common impairment that affects a child's vision. Unfortunately, most parents are not familiar with this disorder. With this guide and the help of your doctor, you will understand amblyopia and learn the best option to improve your child's vision.
The 411 on Amblyopia
The brain and eyes work together, producing the proper vision that allows you to see in a clear, focused manner. In some instances, the brain will not communicate with the eyes, resulting in impaired vision. However, in some cases, the brain will favor one eye only, decreasing that one eye's ability to see. This is known as amblyopia.
Signs of Pediatric Amblyopia
Young children may not be able to explain their vision issues with you. In addition, some children will try and hide vision impairment from parents because they have a fear of wearing glasses. Thankfully, you should be able to notice a few signs of amblyopia in your child.
Watch your child as they are looking at something. If one eye seems to turn in or outwards while they are focusing on an object, your child most likely has a form of amblyopia called strabismus. Strabismus can also cause your child's eyes to cross or droop.
Anisometropia is another form of amblyopia. This form of the disorder affects the eye's ability of focus, which will limit your child's vision. Your child may struggle in school or complain of headaches that are caused by nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Lastly, amblyopia can cause cataracts to develop in your child's eyes. Cataracts are cloudy specks in the eye, which cause vision to be blurry. Many children with cataracts experience discomfort while looking at bright lights.
Treating Your Child's Amblyopia
You may be surprised to learn that early intervention is best for your child's vision. If your child's issues are detected and treated by the age of 3, the treatment will have a higher success rate.
A combination of glasses, eye patches, surgery, and medications may be necessary to improve your child's lazy eye.
If your child's amblyopia is caused by refractive errors, such as being nearsighted or farsighted, your child will need prescription eyeglasses. Wearing the glasses will not only improve your child's vision, but it will also force the brain to use the weaker eye. This will make the eye stronger and less likely to be lazy.
Your child's eye doctor may prescribe an eye patch to wear over the stronger eye. By covering the stronger, healthier eye, your child will be forced to see with their weaker, lazy eye. This will strengthen both the eye muscles and the overall vision health.
Surgery and medications may also be necessary to correct weak muscles in the eye, which may be causing the amblyopia. All cataracts do not need to be surgically removed, but medications will be administered in an attempt to prevent growth.
Unfortunately, glasses, patches, and surgery may not be effective for your child, so your doctor may suggest vision therapy. Vision therapy is similar to physical therapy but focused solely on strengthening your eyes and visual ability.
Doctors may use visual activities on the computer, balance boards, prisms, and different lenses to exercise your child's eye in a safe, supervised manner. With ongoing therapy sessions, your child's amblyopia can be repaired without wearing glasses or patches or undergoing invasive surgical procedures.
Your child's vision is an imperative part of their health and wellness, so proper understanding of different eye disorders is essential. This guide will help you understand and treat amblyopia to ensure your child does not have to live with a "lazy eye." You can contact an eye doctor to get more information.