Lazy eye is a unique vision disorder. Lazy eye, known also by the medical term amblyopia, is a condition in which one eye loses vision due to either a serious refractive error, occlusion of the eye or problems with the eye muscles (strabismus). These problems result in good visual signals not being sent to the brain. If a child has one eye that does not see as well as the other, the brain will focus on interpreting signals from the dominant eye, and the non-dominant eye will slowly lose its ability to see.
Amblyopia typically develops during childhood any time after birth. Once diagnosed, treatment can begin from infancy to age 7. By the time a child is 8 years old, their vision is less likely to respond to treatments, whether they be surgical or non-surgical. If your child has serious amblyopia, surgery may be recommended. For cases that are not as severe, non-invasive treatments like eye patches or eye drops will be pursued.
Although lazy eye can result in partial blindness, which impacts the overall quality of life, diagnosing it early is fairly simple. Symptoms of lazy eye include:
- One eye that wanders inward or outward (strabismus)
- Eyes that do not seem to work together to focus on objects
- Trouble with depth perception
- Squinting or shutting one eye to see better or force the eyes to work together
- Tilting the head
- Abnormal results on vision screen tests
While many instances of lazy eye are obvious due to strabismus, there are several cases in young children in which the condition is not immediately obvious. To reduce the risk of amblyopia becoming more serious, a complete eye exam is recommended for young children, preferably by age 5.
If your child is showing signs of lazy eye or you are concerned about their vision in any way, contact Eye Institute of South Jersey, P.C. at 856-205-1100 or website to schedule an examination with Dr. Pernelli.