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How Can My Eye Doctor Treat My Child's Amblyopia?

How Can My Eye Doctor Treat My Child's Amblyopia?

Amblyopia is more commonly known as lazy eye. This condition develops most commonly in young children who are not aware that the condition is developing. Lazy eye occurs when one eye is weaker than the other and the brain ignores the weaker eye and instead only uses the stronger eye. Because the weaker eye is ignored, it tends to wander (or become lazy). For an eye doctor to address lazy eye, they need to help the child’s brain refocus on the weaker eye so that the weak eye is in use again and can become stronger. If you suspect your child has amblyopia, take them for a children’s eye exam so an eye doctor can address this condition early and correct their vision using one of these treatments.

How An Eye Doctor Treats Amblyopia

Eye Patch
This is the most common method of treatment for amblyopia, often called patching. With this method, an eye patch is worn over the stronger eye so that only the weaker eye can be used and it becomes able to focus. Eye patches are not worn all day but are typically worn for approximately 6 hours. The amount of time the patch needs to be worn may vary for each child and your eye doctor may modify the length of time the eye patch needs to be worn depending on your child’s progress. If the child needs to wear eyeglasses as well, a patch can be placed over the lens of the good eye.

Sometimes corrective lenses are all that’s needed to correct amblyopia. If the weak eye has a refractive error the other eye doesn’t, one lens can be made with a prescription to correct the vision of that eye while the other lens is made without a prescription.

Bangerter filter
Your eye doctor may recommend that your child wears a pair of eyeglasses with a Bangerter filter on the lens of the good eye. This will blur the vision of the good eye and force the weak eye to focus, similar to how the eye patch method works. Some eye doctors prefer this method as it still allows the strong eye some vision and therefore encourages the development of binocular vision. Sometimes patching will help the weaker eye work but the two eyes will not be quite aligned since they have not worked together. The Bangerter filter helps prevent this potential issue.

Eye Drops
Eye drops work the same as the Bangerter filter, where the stronger eye receives blurring eye drops so that vision is not gone completely but is reduced. Eye doctors will sometimes recommend these blurring eye drops if children struggle to wear glasses or an eye patch. The blurring eye drops will only last a few hours, not all day.

Sometimes amblyopia is caused by physical issues that prevent one eye from seeing properly. If your child has a drooping eyelid or issues with the eye muscles, surgery may be recommended. Speak to your eye doctor about surgical options, recovery times, and other possible treatments. Surgery for amblyopia is fairly rare.


Amblyopia Treatment From A Calgary Eye Doctor

If your child has amblyopia, an eye doctor can help restore vision in their weak eye and can train the brain to use this eye again. While sometimes amblyopia can be observed by the average person, other times it can begin to develop before the eye starts to wander. A children’s eye exam will allow an eye doctor to diagnose amblyopia at any stage. For the diagnosis and treatment of amblyopia in your child, schedule a children’s eye exam with Market Mall Optometry in NE Calgary. Our Calgary eye doctors can create a treatment plan for your child’s amblyopia that will suit the needs of you and your child. Schedule an appointment with Market Mall Optometry by calling 1-403-286-4884 or filling out the online contact form.


Q: Are lazy eyes and crossed eyes the same thing?
A: No they are not. Crossed eye (strabismus) is a disorder where the eyes do not line up correctly. Because of this, strabismus can cause amblyopia as the brain struggles to focus on two different points and instead chooses to ignore one of the eyes. Lazy eye is when one eye is weaker than the other, whereas crossed eye is when the eyes are misaligned.

Q: Can lazy eye affect my child’s performance in school?
A: Yes, poor vision can affect children’s performance in school. Whether this poor vision is caused by amblyopia, nystagmus, refractive errors, or other eye conditions, any type of poor vision may affect your child’s ability to see the board, read their worksheets, or otherwise participate in activities in school. To help your child’s performance during school, take them to the eye doctor before the school year begins.

Q: How can I help keep my child’s vision healthy?
A: To help protect your child’s vision, make sure they are eating nutritious foods that are good for eye health, wearing UV-blocking sunglasses to protect against damaging UV rays when they go outside, and visiting the eye doctor once a year for a children’s eye exam.

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