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Treating lazy eye (amblyopia)

Many children are diagnosed with a condition called amblyopia, more commonly known as “lazy eye.” This condition can develop in one or both eyes. It causes the images from one eye to be preferred by the brain, ignoring the images of the other. If left untreated, especially in the younger years where early vision development occurs, the neurological pathways become permanent and can result in a lifetime of reduced vision. The dominant eye is also more at risk of developing eye disorders in the future, causing this condition to potentially impact both eyes.

What are the symptoms of amblyopia?

Individuals who have amblyopia may find that they have squint or close an eye to see objects clearly. They may also have poor depth perception, contract perception, and visual acuity in general. Because many children are unaware of their vision concerns, amblyopia is often diagnosed during a comprehensive eye examination, during which the doctor will cover each eye and observe the child’s response to a visual test. A lazy eye may also be noticeable when more severe, so a physical evaluation can also help in diagnosing amblyopia in children.

What is done to treat amblyopia?

In most cases of amblyopia, the goal is to force the individual to use their weaker eye. To do so, children are encouraged to wear an eye patch of their dominant eye for a specific period of time to help the weaker eye “catch up” with the dominant eye. In addition to eye patch use, atropine eye drops, which cause blurring, can be administered into the dominant eye. Both options are used to strengthen the weaker eye and reverse or lessen amblyopia. If patients are not diagnosed with amblyopia before the age of eight or nine, they may deal with the condition for a lifetime.

Learn more about amblyopia treatments with the team at Thom Eye and Laser Clinic

Fargo, ND area residents who are in need of treatment for lazy eye are welcome to book an appointment with Dr. Steve Thom at his state-of-the-art practice. His practice can be reached by phone at (701) 235-5200 and is located in Fargo at 2601 University Drive S.

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