It is very important to begin treatment to correct lazy eye in children as early as possible. Doing so can help prevent vision loss. The medical term for lazy eye is amblyopia. According to the National Eye Institute, amblyopia affects nearly 3 out of every 100 children. If left untreated, this condition can lead to blindness in the effected eye.
In order for a person to have good vision, the eyes and the brain must work together in synchronization. Sometimes, the brain will only respond to the signals from one eye. When this happens, the vision in other eye tends to become weak, causing it to involuntarily turn in or outward.
Baby EyeglassesIn some cases, corrective lenses are prescribed to help correct lazy eye in a baby. Eyeglasses are most often used if the condition is caused by farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism, according to Mayo Clinic. For this purpose, the eyeglasses will have a blurry lens for the eye that has the best vision and muscle coordination.
This will force the baby's brain to use the weak eye. As a result, the child will gain better vision and control with the eye that is crossed. Eye movement and coordination will also improve. It can take a few days to a few months for this particular amblyopia treatment to be completely effective.
Child Eye Patch to Correct Lazy EyeThe child eye patch is another method that is often used to correct lazy eye. According to Prevent Blindness America, a volunteer eye health organization, eye patches may be necessary for a few weeks to up to a year, depending on the severity of the amblyopia. The patch will be placed over the eye that has the better sight.
Similar to eyeglasses, the patch will force the child to use the weaker eye, which will strengthen it, leading to better eyesight. Patches generally should be worn at least two hours a day. It can be challenging to get some children to consistently wear patches or eyeglasses. Try to make the experience as enjoyable for the child as possible. Offer the child rewards for cooperating with the treatment.
Lazy Eye SurgeryLazy eye surgery may be recommended in the more severe cases of amblyopia. Surgery may also be offered if the condition is being caused by cataracts, or if the child has droopy eyelids. It is important for parents who are considering this option for their child to get as much information about this form of treatment as possible.
According to a study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology (1978 49th edition), lazy eye surgery is effective about 50 percent of the time. Researchers from this study point out that the definition of success included instances in which the only improvement was cosmetic. In other words, the surgery stopped the eyes from crossing but did not improve eyesight.
As a result, some doctors involved in the study are recommending that parents have a clear understanding about the goals of the surgery before hand. Ask the surgeon if the expected outcome is to cause the eyes to work together and improve vision, or if the surgery is being performed solely for cosmetic purposes. Find out if more than one surgical procedure is necessary.