Ambylopia in Children – What to Watch Out For

675px-Child_eyepatchChildren can experience a variety of vision conditions early on in life. Whether or not they take a permanent toll on their future eyesight is largely determined by a quick diagnosis and proper treatment. This is the main reason for taking your child to see a pediatric optometrist yearly, starting when they’re a baby.

One condition in particular that tends to affect a higher percentage of children is amblyopia, also known as lazy eye. This may develop when the vision in one eye isn’t able to focus well or send a strong signal to the brain, causing it to wander.

Symptoms of Ambylopia 

Ambylopia can be developing in a child for a while before parents start to notice. It’s important to know the symptoms of a lazy eye to help with early detection. When parents look at their child’s eyes, they should take particular note of whether they are working together or separately looking in different directions. Second, parents should watch for frequent crossed eyes. Though this is actually a whole different condition, it often leads to amblyopia. Finally, there are tests parents can to do determine if their child’s depth perception, which is another sign of lazy eye.

Causes of Ambylopia 

There are several causes of amblyopia, but the most common include strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), uncorrected refractive error (the need for glasses or contact lenses to correct trouble with nearsightedness or farsightedness), and deprivation (obstruction or cloudiness in eye tissue creating a blockage in vision). Vision development does not finish in children until they’re around the age of eight, and if there is not enough visual stimulation in these critical years, the brain will learn to ignore images from the weak eye completely.

Treatment for Ambylopia

The treatment of amblyopia will depend on how soon it was caught and how bad it is. Generally, doctors use a method that forces the brain to start communicating with the weak eye while the stronger one purposely goes unused. This can involve having the child wear a patch over their good eye or putting in drops that will blur that eye’s vision. Glasses are also likely to be used in many cases.

As the most common cause of visual impairment in children, it’s vital for parents to understand what amblyopia is, the full effects it can have, and what to look for so it can be treated immediately. Dr. Rosa Optometry has helped many young patients overcome amblyopia and go on to lead happy lives with their vision completely restored.