A lazy eye is an eye condition that causes poor vision, typically in one eye. The National Eye Institute estimates that three out of every 100 people have this condition. If you have this condition, one of your eyes is stronger than the other. That is due to inefficient communication between your brain and your weaker eye.
The medical term for this condition is amblyopia. It is when one eye has poor vision, forcing you to rely on the stronger eye. It results from an issue with the brain-eye connection and usually develops early in life. There will be improper neural connections stimulation when one eye's vision is weaker, causing the signals sent to create a blurred image.
You have several options to fix a lazy eye. Your eye doctor may recommend surgery, but he/she will do so after considering other noninvasive treatments. Treatment is often more effective the younger the patient is, but it can still be effective for older kids. However, the likelihood of vision improvement after age eight drops significantly. Below are the standard treatment strategies available today.
One strategy to fix amblyopia is by using eyeglasses that deliberately blur the images seen by the stronger eye. That is possible through optical penalization using an incorrect eyeglass prescription. Doing so forces the brain to pay attention to the weaker eye, strengthening its connection. Contact lenses can work similarly, but they may not be ideal for young children.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology says this strategy is often the first-line treatment for a lazy eye. One study showed a significant improvement in about 77 percent of participants and a complete resolution of the problem in 27 percent.
Atropine drops are the most common medicated eye drops for amblyopia. They prevent the stronger eye from focusing, causing blurred vision. That forces you to use your weaker eye more, strengthening its connection with the brain.
Instead of blurring the stronger eye’s vision, an eye patch takes away its vision completely. That helps strengthen the weaker one by fortifying its connection with the brain. You may wear the patch for several hours daily or all day if your condition is severe. Studies found that wearing a patch for two hours daily resulted in modest improvement of a moderate to severe lazy eye.
Another way to weaken the stronger eye’s vision is by using this filter on the eyeglass’s lens. It makes the vision through the lens hazy, forcing you to use the weaker eye more. You will use the filter until your eye doctor determines that treatment is no longer necessary.
Surgery is often necessary in severe cases of amblyopia where stimulus deprivation is the cause. Clearing the obstruction allows clear signals to reach your brain. Your brain will then learn how to see clearly from both eyes.
There is some stigma surrounding this eye condition. If you have a lazy eye, it is best to remember that it is not a reflection of your character. It does not mean you are lazy. Instead, it is an eye health issue with several treatment strategies. However, your weaker eye will weaken further without treatment, which is why it is crucial to fix a lazy eye.
For more on lazy eye, visit Pinnacle Eye Group at our Lambertville, Michigan office. Call (734) 562-0099 to schedule an appointment today.