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What is Lazy Eye?
We receive a lot of questions from parents on the topic of lazy eye. I have asked Dr. Rachelle Altstadt, our director of Performance Vision Therapy, to address this issue. Enjoy!
Also known as amblyopia, lazy eye is the most common cause of preventable blindness in children. This type of vision loss typically occurs in one eye due to the lack of development of the area of the brain that controls vision. The cause of lazy eye is a disruption of binocular visual development due to lack of "two-eyed" visual input. Usually this disruption is due to an eye teaming issue or unequal refractive error.
How Do I Know Whether or Not My Child Has Lazy Eye?
A complete eye exam is necessary to determine if a child is suppressing one eye. Symptoms are not always obvious, but here are a few signs to watch for:
- An eye turn
- Closing an eye or covering an eye to see
- Tilting or turning of the head to see
When and How To Treat Lazy Eye
Previously, it was thought that lazy eye could only be treated at a young age, if caught before age 6. However, current research shows that treatment can be successful even in young adults. Because we know our brain has amazing plasticity at any age, it has been suggested that lazy eye can be treated at any age!
There are a couple of treatment options for lazy eye. Most developmental optometrists agree that Occlusion Therapy is an outdated approach. This vision therapy technique involves patching the good eye for hours at a time. Another option is a combination of monocular and binocular in-office vision therapy. This approach will yield better results because it helps the amblyopic eye gain better sight, while also encouraging the use of both eyes at the same time.
For more information or to schedule an initial assessment with our Developmental Optometrist, Dr. Rachelle Altstadt, click here to email Performance Vision Therapy's Clinical Coordinator.