Amblyopia or Lazy Eye
Amblyopia occurs when there is a reduced best correctable visual acuity typically in one eye. It often occurs when there a large refractive difference (anisometropia) between the two eyes. Amblyopia can also be bilateral which often occurs when a child has high amounts of astigmatism in both eyes. It all situations its very important to treat amblyopia at a young age so that best correctable visual acuity can be improved. Typical treatment involves correction of the underlying refractive error with glasses or contact lenses and/or patching of the stronger eye for periods of the day.
Amblyopia is the leading cause of preventable vision loss in children and can be largely corrected before the age of six. Its extremely important that all kids have an eye exam before 6 months to 1 years of age.
Strabismus or Crossed Eyes
A crossed eye, which can turn in or out, is a muscle condition in which a child’s eyes are not properly aligned with each other. Coordination of a child’s eyes, and their ability to work together, starts to develop in infancy. Failure of the eye muscles to work together properly can lead to strabismus, which generally appears between the ages of birth and 21 months. A child will not outgrow strabismus without treatment; in fact, the condition may become worse.
Children with strabismus may initially experience double vision because both eyes are not focusing on the same object. In an attempt to avoid double vision, the brain eventually disregards the image from one eye. In time, the ignored eye will become unable to function normally and will become largely unused, which could result in the development of amblyopia (lazy eye).
Treatment for strabismus can include eyeglasses, prisms, vision therapy, and in some cases, surgery. Strabismus can be corrected with excellent results if detected and treated early.
Eye coordination is the ability of both eyes to work together as a team. Each eye sees an ever-so-slightly different image, but the brain blends these two images into a single three-dimensional picture. Good eye coordination keeps the eyes in proper alignment, but a minor misalignment of your child’s eyes can cause symptoms like double vision, fatigue and headaches.
Eye coordination skills are developed during early childhood. Some signs and symptoms that may indicate poor eye coordination in children are covering one eye, tilting their head, skipping lines or losing their place while reading, performing poorly in sports, avoiding tasks that require close work and tiring easily.
Poor eye coordination can be treated through vision therapy, eyeglasses and/or other optical aids. If detected early enough, the success rate for achieving proper eye coordination is high.