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One of many reasons why infants/ children/adults should have a comprehensive eye exam with a Developmental Optometrist is the possibility of Amblyopia.
Amblyopia (often misnamed “lazy eye”), is a condition where one eye does not see nearly as well as the other. This condition is not correctable by glasses or contact lenses. Amblyopia is not due to any eye disease. The brain does not fully acknowledge the images seen by the Amblyopic eye. The favored eye compensates for the Amblyopic eye so the child/adult may not be aware of the problem. This may lead to other dysfunctions such as poor depth perception (3D).
An infant/child can look perfectly normal, even if one eye is really very Amblyopic. Treatment is often delayed because the parents think that the child is fine and that there is no reason to see a Developmental Optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam. As a consequence, the child or adult may be more difficult to treat and correct in later stages.
Causes of Amblyopia
Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the critical period (birth to 6 years of age) can cause Amblyopia. Listed below are reasons why Amblyopia can develop in childhood:
- Misaligned eyes or constant Strabismus
- Significant differences between the clearness of the images seen by each eye due to farsightedness, nearsightedness or Astigmatism
- An obstruction of vision within one eye due to injury or disease
Treatment of Amblyopia
Early treatment is usually simple, often employing glasses and Vision Therapy. Prolonged eye patching is usually not a part of Amblyopia treatment at Hope Clinic. While detection and correction before the age of two is considered to offer the best outcomes, recent scientific research has disproven the long held belief that children over seven years old can not be successfully treated. For more information, see the press release at National Institutes of Health -- National Eye Institute.
To learn more about Amblyopia and Vision Therapy please click here.
For Success Stories on the treatment of Amblyopia, please click here.