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Amblyopia

Amblyopia is commonly called Lazy Eye. It begins to develop early in life; in fact, it results when one eye is slower to develop the ability to see than the other. This can occur if the vision in one eye from early childhood is less clear than in the other. Anisometropia is when one eye is much more nearsighted, farsighted, or has more astigmatism than the other, so that one eye sees more clearly than the other. The blurry eye becomes the lazy eye. Amblyopia also occurs when the eyes don’t work together because of Strabismus – when one eye turns in (crossed eyes or Esotropia), or when one eye turns out relative to the other (wall-eyed or Exotropia).  Regardless of the cause early diagnosis and treatment is the only way to prevent amblyopia. THIS IS ONE IMPORTANT REASON WHY YOUR CHILD’S EYES SHOULD BE EXAMINED BEFORE THE AGE OF 3 YEARS.

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Strabismus

If you look directly at an object and one of your eyes is looking in a different direction, you have strabismus. If the eye is turned in, you have esotropia (crossed eyes); if the eye turns out, you have exotropia (wall eyed); if the turned eye points upward or downward it is vertical strabismus. If the amount of the turn is great enough it can be a cosmetic issue. If the same eye is always turned, AMBLYOPIA can result. Strabismics often have poor depth perception; they may see double constantly or intermittently, (diplopia). Strabismics may have any number of problems with eye strain, headaches, or discomfort. If strabismus is present from early childhood there may be few, if any, symptoms.

 

Babies often have an extra fold of skin on their eyelids near the nose. This is called an epicanthalfold. When an epicanthal fold is present, the baby may appear to be cross-eyed, when, in fact, the eyes are straight. Even baby doctors can be fooled by this. If your baby appears to have crossed eyes bring him or her in, we can tell you if treatment is needed or if there is no cause for concern.

Strabismus can be treated with eyeglasses, prismglasses, VISION TRAINING (eye exercises), or with surgery.

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Astigmatism

The front surface of the eye – the clear and transparent cornea – is supposed to be perfectly round, like a ping pong ball. Sometimes it is bent, like an egg or football shape. This results in an image which is blurred or distorted, and is called astigmatism. Astigmatism causes blurriness at all times and at all distances. If there is a lot of astigmatism, and if it is present from an early age, the visual system cannot develop in a normal way and AMBLYOPIA (lazy eye) results. Therefore, it is important to have your child’s eyes examined for the first time before the age of 3 years. This is one of the few times that glasses must be worn by a young child in order for his or her eyes to develop normally.

When the shape of the eye is very much distorted resulting in high astigmatism the use of CONTACT LENSES becomes somewhat more complicated. Rigid lenses (Rigid Gas Permeable) can cover the “bent” surface with a spherical one, essentially eliminating the astigmatism. Hybrid lenses like the “SYNERGEYES” lens or the “DUETTE” lens can accomplish the same thing with better comfort: this is because a hybrid lens has a rigid central area and a soft skirt. A third option for correcting high astigmatism is custom designed soft contact lenses.

Many people with high astigmatism are told that they can’t wear contact lenses. In our experience, this is almost never the case. We succeed in fitting even the most difficult cases. SO EVEN IF YOU HAVE HIGH ASTIGMATISM AND WERE TOLD YOU CAN’T WEAR CONTACTS, GIVE US A CALL – WE CAN ALMOST CERTAINLY HELP.

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Amblyopia Treatment

When amblyopia is diagnosed early enough, treatment is often successful in restoring normal or nearly normal vision in the amblyopic eye. After the age of six years, results are not as good but there is still hope for significant improvement. Treatment involves first clearing the images in both eyes with glasses or contact lenses. Then some combination of eye exercises ( VISION TRAINING), patching, and/or the use of Atropine can force the use of the lazy eye resulting in gradual reduction or elimination of the amblyopia.

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