What is amblyopia?
Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is when one or both eyes have poor vision and the brain favors the eye with the stronger power and ignores the weaker one. This usually develops in infancy or childhood and is brought on by visual impairments, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, misalignment of the eyes (strabismus), or cataracts. Symptoms are not always obvious but may include squinting, covering one eye to see, head titling, difficulty with depth perception, and having crossed eyes. Without early treatment, this condition can lead to long-term vision problems. If you or your child are struggling with amblyopia, contact Baton Rouge Eye Physicians in Baton Rouge, LA to book an appointment.
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What are the causes and symptoms of amblyopia?
There are many possible causes of amblyopia, but the most common is when one eye is more nearsighted or farsighted than the other. This unevenness in vision between the two eyes forces the brain to favor one eye and ignore the other. Other possible causes of amblyopia include:
- Genetics or a family history of amblyopia
- Damage to one eye due to trauma
- Previous eye surgery
Patients with amblyopia may experience symptoms like poor vision or depth perception, constant squinting, or crossed eyes. Amblyopia can lead to serious long-term vision problems if left untreated, so it is important to consult with a specialist as soon as possible if you think you may be suffering from this condition.
Treatments for Amblyopia
Amblyopia is diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam, and if caught early, patients can expect a full recovery. Depending on the underlying cause and degree of your condition, different therapies may be used. The most common forms of treatment include glasses or contact lenses, eye patches, special filters placed on eyeglasses, medicated eye drops, and surgery. In rare cases, BOTOX may also be used to treat strabismus, which often occurs with lazy eye. For children, improvements are often seen after a few weeks, but for teens and adults, treatment usually takes longer and is not as effective. Maintaining routine eye exams are essential for patients of all ages to detect amblyopia and other vision concerns as early as possible.
Does amblyopia get worse with age?
Though lazy eye begins in childhood, it can continue into adulthood and will often continue to get worse if it is not properly treated. In some cases where amblyopia is left untreated, children can begin to suffer vision loss before they even reach adulthood.
What causes lazy eye?
Amblyopia is most commonly caused by a muscle imbalance within the muscles that position the eyes. This shortcoming can cause the eyes to either cross in or turn out, which prevents them from working together to create functional vision.
Can amblyopia be treated?
Lazy eye is usually correctable, especially when it is treated early. Treatment options usually include wearing an eye patch, eye drops, or a corrective lens in order to ensure the "lazy" eye is able to build up enough strength to function properly.
prevent lazy eye
Although amblyopia affects patients of all ages, it's more prevalent among children as it usually develops before age six. Studies have shown that roughly 2 – 5% of children in the United States have lazy eye. But with early detection and treatment, this condition can be corrected. If your child is showing signs of amblyopia, contact our team at Baton Rouge Eye Physicians today to schedule an appointment. Our eye clinic is conveniently located in Baton Rouge, LA.