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Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a disorder that develops in small children. Fortunately, for patients who visit our Eye Center of Virginia practice, Dr. Schultz and our optometric staff in Williamsburg, Virginia are able to offer vision care that lowers the risk of reduced sight.
In patients with amblyopia, vision in an eye is reduced because of a lack of coordination between the brain and the eye. The eye’s appearance might be normal. However, the eye is not undergoing normal use because the patient’s brain favors the opposite eye. Individuals develop this disorder when they are infants or in early childhood. Since an early diagnosis greatly boosts the chances for recovery, the American Optometric Association recommends comprehensive childhood exams by the time a youngster is 6 months old and once more at the age of 3.
While most cases involve just one eye, sometimes problems with visual acuity arise in both. Despite the use of prescription glasses or contact lenses, patients lack visual acuity that is normal. As many as 3% of Americans suffer from some degree of this condition.
Since this disorder typically strikes infants, it is sometimes initially difficult to detect. The most common cause is strabismus, an optical misalignment that causes the eyes to cross. Parents who notice this misalignment should contact our practice as soon as possible. A second clue is crying or fussing when an adult covers one eye of a young child.
These simple screenings are helpful in identifying the possibility of the disorder but cannot take the place of comprehensive childhood exams and eye care from optometrists. Unfortunately, it is not possible for a child to outgrow this condition without any type of treatment.
Our optometric staff considers a number of eye care options in treating patients with amblyopia. When strabismus is the cause, our optometrists can provide eye patching and vision therapy after surgery to help the eyes work together.
Even though a child’s eyes are in perfect alignment, the disorder can appear because one eye has an uncorrected refractive error such as being nearsighted or farsighted while the other is normal. The standard treatment for this problem is providing prescription eyewear. In most cases, patients need patching of the normal eye. For some children, eye drops are preferable to patching. Older children and even adults can benefit from treatment with special computer programs that stimulate visual improvements.
When was your last eye exam? Be sure to call us at the Eye Center of Virginia today at (757) 229-1131 to schedule appointments for yourself and your family members. Our Williamsburg optometrists, Dr. Gregory Schultz and Dr. Derek Evans, provides a full range of services to help keep your family’s eyes healthy and their vision the best it can be. Contact us today!