Children’s eye care can be a challenge since kids cannot always verbalize a problem with their vision. Your child’s yearly eye exam is your best chance to diagnose vision issues, including one known as Amblyopia.
What is Amblyopia?
Amblyopia is a condition where a physically healthy eye is not adequately used by the brain, resulting in incorrect focus and blurry or double vision. Eventually the brain may stop using information from the weaker eye altogether. Amblyopia may result from a misshapen cornea (called an astigmatism) or strabismus, where the eyes are misaligned and may appear crossed.
One way that children’s eye care specialists can improve amblyopia in a child is through the use of eyepatches. Wearing a patch over the stronger eye for a few hours daily forces the weaker eye to compensate, resulting in the eye growing stronger and improving the communication between the eye and brain until proper focus is learned. Studies have shown that resistant cases of amblyopia may require using the eyepatch for longer lengths of time each day, possibly up to six hours.
In some cases where patching doesn’t work or cannot be used, a medicine called Atropine can be used via eyedrops. This makes the good eye see a blurred image, and then the bad eye must pick up the slack. As with patching, the bad eye becomes stronger through consistent practice using this method.
Cases of amblyopia that result from strabismus may require surgical correction to fix the alignment of the eyes. Surgical fixes are for more extreme cases, since Amblyopia can normally be fixed through the use of glasses or the above methods.
Amblyopia is a painless condition that typically requires brain training to correct. Talk to your children’s eye care specialist today if you suspect your child has a vision issue.