Lazy eyes are the most common cause of vision loss in children. In fact, up to three out of 100 children have a lazy eye. In today’s blog post, we’ll be taking a look at them and answering the question: when is it too late to treat one?
What is Lazy Eye?
According to Mayo Clinic, lazy eye is reduced vision caused by abnormal visual development early in life. Typically, it only affects one eye; however, in extremely rare cases, it will affect both. Children are more at risk for developing lazy eye if they were born prematurely, experience development disabilities, or have a family history of the condition.
Do you know the medical name for a lazy eye? It is amblyopia. We’ll use the terms interchangeably in this blog post.
Symptoms of Lazy Eye
There are several common signs and symptoms that are indicative of amblyopia: reduced vision in one eye, difficulty with depth perception, and frequent squinting or closing one eye. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, we recommend scheduling an appointment to get their eyes evaluated as soon as you can. That way, if they do have amblyopia, you can get help sooner than later.
Types of Lazy Eye
There are three types of amblyopia: refractive, strabismic, and deprivation.
This kind of lazy eye results in large differences in vision between both eyes.
This type of lazy eye causes one eye to turn in constantly. It is also the most common kind of amblyopia.
Finally, this kind of amblyopia reduces vision in one eye due to physical problems in the eye, such as a cataract. It is the most rare and severe type of amblyopia.
When is It Too Late to Treat a Lazy Eye?
The good news is that it is never too late to seek treatment for amblyopia. However, there is an optimal time to treat one. Childhood, typically before the age of eight, is the best time to treat one. This is because eyes are most adaptable in early childhood, leading to greater success in restoring vision. For those who wait to seek treatment until adulthood, improvement is still possible. It just might take longer.
Treating Lazy Eye
As we mentioned before, the earlier treatment begins, the better the chances of achieving significant improvement. In children, the brain is still developing, and the visual system is more responsive to interventions. To treat lazy eye in children, two common methods are patching the stronger eye or using special glasses to correct refractive errors. These treatments help stimulate the weaker eye and encourage the brain to process its visual input.
If amblyopia is detected later in life, treatment options may vary and can include vision therapy, specialized contact lenses, or even surgery in certain cases. Although the potential for complete recovery may be reduced with age, visual function and depth perception can still be enhanced through treatment. So don’t put off seeking treatment just because you are well past childhood.
Vision exercises can be effective when it comes to treating amblyopia in both children and adults. Such exercises strengthen the weaker eye, especially when used in conjunction with an eye patch. Additionally, activities like puzzles, reading, and coloring can prove to be beneficial for treating lazy eye. Always seek professional help when it comes to treatment for any vision problems.
Amblyopia Treatment in Austin, Texas
If you or your child is dealing with amblyopia, contact Broberg Eye Care today. Our eye doctors can evaluate your situation and provide guidance on the most appropriate treatment options based on your age and the severity of amblyopia. Schedule an appointment today.