As a parent, it can be unnerving to look into your child's face and notice that their eyes seem unfocused or that while one eye is looking straight at you, the other is wandering off to one side. Symptoms like this could be a sign of lazy eye, also called amblyopia. This is a condition in which the eye doesn't process visual information correctly. While it ordinarily occurs only in one eye, with the other eye picking up the slack, it can cause visual deficits in both eyes. Lazy eye can be diagnosed conclusively by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. If you suspect that your child may be suffering from lazy eye, you may be interested in learning what kind of treatment options you'll need to consider after diagnosis. Take a look at some of the different treatment options for lazy eye.
An eye patch is probably the most well-known and recognizable treatment for lazy eye. The child wears the patch not over the affected eye, but over their stronger, normally functioning eye. The purpose of this is to force the affected eye to gain strength and reduce its dependence on the unaffected eye.
It's usually not necessary for the child to wear the eye patch all day long. As little as two hours a day can be enough to make a difference. That means that the patch doesn't have to interfere with school or other activities. Even so, some children may dislike the patch and resist wearing it. Today's children often have a choice of patches with colorful designs that make the prospect of wearing them more palatable. However, if it's too difficult to get your child to wear the patch, then they may benefit from similar treatments involving eye drops that temporarily obscure the vision in the good eye or special contact lenses that prevents light from entering the good eye. These treatments have the same effect as the patch, but may be easier for your child to handle.
Surgery is another potential treatment that you may have to consider eventually. However, most eye doctors will attempt other forms of treatment first, long before recommending that your child go under the knife, so don't panic. Surgery is most likely only going to be an option if other forms of treatment fail.
Lazy eye surgery is surgery on the muscles of the eyes. The doctor may decide that they need to strengthen a muscle that's too weak by shortening it. Another possibility is that they will weaken a muscle that is too strong and pulling your child's focus in the wrong direction by attaching a muscle to a new, further away location, effectively lengthening it.
Therapy, in the form of visual exercises, is another treatment that shows promise for children who have lazy eye. This treatment, called dichoptic therapy, often involves viewing different images on a screen with each eye, and performing learning tasks or perceptual exercises at the same time. Dichoptic therapy is a newer form of treatment for lazy eye than the patch, but may be a better fit for many children. This treatment may be performed in a therapeutic setting, in the home, or in some combination of those two options.
In some cases, children find themselves bored or frustrated with this type of dichoptic therapy. For those children, new forms of therapy are being explored. Recent studies show that dichoptic therapies that involve watching animated movies showed even greater improvement than using the patch. A similar therapy involving video games has also shown success among adults with lazy eye.
If you suspect that your child has lazy eye, don't hesitate to make an appointment with an eye doctor, such as All About Eyes, to confirm the diagnosis and go over the potential treatments. Your eye doctor can help you find the treatment that is most appropriate for your child's condition.Share