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Diagnosis and Treatment of Amblyopia by Our Eye Doctors near Greenville

When one eye fails to develop normal central vision in preschool-aged children and is not caused by eye diseases, optometrists may diagnose this condition as amblyopia, or "lazy eye". Amblyopia does not impair peripheral vision. Instead, lazy eye involves the inability of both eyes to converge (focus) on objects in the forward visual field. Since early diagnosis of amblyopia significantly increases treatment outcomes, your eye doctors near Greenville recommend all children have a comprehensive eye exam when they are six months old, followed by another eye exam at age two. If the diagnosis of amblyopia is delayed until a child is a teenager or adult, treatment will take longer and may be less effective than when provided before they start school.

Cross eyed Kid

Signs of Amblyopia

If you notice one of your child's eyes wandering outward or inward during their first few months of life, make an appointment with your optometrists for an infant eye exam. Other symptoms of possible amblyopia include:

  • Odd head tilting movements (young children may do this to compensate for impaired central vision)
  • Frequent falls or uncoordinated movements (indicates poor depth perception associated with amblyopia)
  • Eyes that do not appear to be focusing or working together
  • Shutting or squinting one eye (this means a child may be relying on their "good" eye for seeing)

Making sure your child receives regular eye care tests as a preschooler is important because the lazy eye is not always noticeable. Many eye conditions such as lazy eye or astigmatism may not be detected unless your child's vision abilities are evaluated by optometrists.

What Causes Amblyopia?

Early in life, certain conditions within the eye and surrounding eye muscles interfere with normal functioning of nerve pathways between the brain and retina. As the weaker eye receives fewer and fewer visual signals, the ability of both eyes to converge decreases. Ultimately, the brain simply ignores visual input produced by the weaker eye. Strabismus (muscle imbalance), refractive anisometropia (extreme differences in visual clarity between the eyes) and deprivation of vision caused by cataracts or similar eye conditions are the primary causes of amblyopia.

Eye Care and Treatment for Amblyopia

If your eye doctors near Greenville diagnose your child with amblyopia, they will recommend one or more of the following treatment protocols:

  • Wearing an eye patch over the stronger eye to force the weaker eye to work constantly. This helps to improve muscle control and visual continuity.
  • Wearing eyeglasses with lenses that blur the vision of the good eye but do not interfere with the vision of the weaker eye. Some children may prefer wearing eyeglasses over an eye patch.
  • Using once-a-day, atropine eye drops that temporarily blur vision in the stronger eye.
  • Combining treatments with vision therapy designed to strengthen eye muscles, improve eye coordination and optimize visual signaling between the brain and retina.

In rare cases, optometrists may recommend surgery for correcting underlying eye conditions causing amblyopia.

Contact Our Local Greenville Optometrists for More Information on Amblyopia

To ensure your child is not experiencing amblyopia, refractive errors or other vision problems, please call your eye doctors near Greenville today at 252-752-4380.