Amblyopia, commonly called a “lazy eye,” is a relatively common condition that affects around 2-3% of Americans and is usually diagnosed during childhood. At West Broward Eyecare Associates in Tamarac, Florida, the team of expert eye care professionals diagnoses amblyopia and provides customized treatment to ensure you or your child can see clearly. Call West Broward Eyecare Associates or schedule an exam online today.
What is amblyopia?
Amblyopia occurs when one of your eyes doesn’t achieve complete visual clarity, even with corrective lenses. Many people mistake the term lazy eye as a synonym for strabismus, or misaligned eyes, but it actually refers to one eye not performing as well as the other.
The condition usually emerges during infancy or childhood, and you might not know that your child has amblyopia until one of the optometrists at West Broward Eyecare Associates diagnoses it during a routine eye exam.
However, if your child squints, tilts their head, or shuts one eye when they’re looking at something, you should schedule an eye exam. When caught early, amblyopia is usually easily treated.
One of the most common causes of amblyopia is strabismus — another common childhood eye condition that causes eye misalignment. When a child has strabismus, the brain learns to rely on the eye that works best, and “turns off” the signals from the weaker eye. Over time, this can further weaken the eye.
Other causes of amblyopia are uneven refractive errors like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). One eye can have a significantly more severe refractive error than the other. While rare, congenital cataracts can also cause amblyopia.
Your child should have eye exams around their third and fifth birthdays. The team at West Broward Eyecare Associates tests your child’s vision in each eye as well as together.
They also check depth perception and how well each eye can track a moving object and shift focus between near and far objects. These tests can identify weakness or lower function in one of the eyes.
Treatment depends on the condition causing amblyopia and its severity. For example, your eye doctor might prescribe eyeglasses or contacts. In other cases, your doctor might recommend treatment to retrain the weaker eye. This might involve wearing an eyepatch on the stronger eye or using eyedrops that temporarily blur vision in the stronger eye to force the brain to rely on the weaker eye.
Treatment can take a few months to reach the optimal correction, and depending on your child’s needs, your doctor might recommend ongoing treatments to prevent amblyopia from returning.
If your child is due for an eye exam or you’re concerned about their vision, call West Broward Eyecare Associates or make an appointment online today.