While many of our patients come into Grove Eye Care with quickly diagnosed eye conditions, amblyopia can require some additional testing to identify the cause of poor vision. Amblyopia is a change in vision that is not caused by a deformity or change to the shape of the eye. Instead, the issues arise because the eye and the brain are not effectively communicating. While the eye may look normal during an examination, it is not properly used or supported because the brain is strongly favoring the other eye. Amblyopia is also commonly referred to as “lazy eye.”
Because the brain and the eye are not properly transmitting information, it can often mean that our vision is impaired. When the brain is not sending the proper signals to the eye, it can affect your eye’s ability to focus. Amblyopia is often diagnosed in patients who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism.
While amblyopia can often be diagnosed and treated when patients are children, if it is left untreated, it can cause permanent vision impairment. While the eye is young, the short-term effects of having the brain favor the other eye can often be corrected, but as the eye ages, the eye may not properly develop, and the issues can become permanent.
Amblyopia typically starts because one of the patient’s eyes is much stronger than the other one. This means that the brain learns that it can effectively depend on this eye and then places more emphasis on the information from that eye while reducing any effort to get visual information from the weaker eye. Vision in the eye that is blurry will slowly continue to get worse.
In addition, amblyopia can be caused because a patient’s eyes don’t line up properly. This is also called strabismus. Because the eyes are not sending a unified or coherent message the brain, the brain will learn to depend on a single eye, robbing the other eye of the energy required to develop properly.
Finally, amblyopia can be caused because something is blocking or impairing the vision in that eye. This can often be a cataract or some other material that is located in the eye. Just as in the previous two causes, if this issue is not corrected, the eye will continue to weaken, and the brain will depend on the other eye to interpret information.
In some cases, amblyopia may be expected or easier to diagnose. This is particularly true when strabismus is present. However, other causes may take some additional investigation to determine the cause, but can often be identified in the course of a routine eye exam. These issues are also often caught even at school eye exams.
In addition, amblyopia does have some genetic links, so if somebody else has the condition in your child’s bloodline, you will want to be more diligent about having them checked.
At Grove Eye Care, we offer treatment options to help correct and improve issues associated with amblyopia. The main focus of treatment is to improve the vision of the eye and force the brain to start using the information that is coming from both eyes more equally.
If the cause is related to nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, we offer a variety of corrective lenses to help clear up vision and give the brain an accurate image. If the issue is caused by cataracts, we may recommend cataract surgery to remove the obstruction. Clearing up issues associated with strabismus often take some additional work to help correct the strength of the muscles surrounding the eye and training it to perform properly
If you believe that you or your child has any issues with vision, call Grove Eye Care in Richmond, VA to schedule an appointment today (804) 353-3937. Our friendly staff can ensure that you get seen as soon as possible to make sure that you see the world more clearly!