Understanding Lazy Eye
Golisano's pediatric ophthalmology clinic can help with early detection of eye problems
Children with “lazy eye” can look for help at Southwest Florida Children’s Charities Eye Institute of Golisano Children’s Hospital. Lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, is when one or both eyes have poor vision. There are a few causes of amblyopia, but a common one associated with lazy eye is “strabismus” or eye misalignment. The imbalance causes the weaker eye to wander either inward or outward. Other signs of lazy eye are poor depth perception, squinting or shutting the lazy eye, or head tilting.
Children are either born with lazy eye, or it can develop between the ages of 1 and 4. It affects about 3% of children, according to the National Eye Institute. Without treatment, lazy eye can cause permanent vision loss in the affected eye.
“The good news is that lazy eye is almost always treatable when caught early,” says Dr. Shauna Berry, a pediatric ophthalmologist with Golisano.
There are various treatment options that the doctor may recommend. The best treatment option depends on the cause and how much the condition affects a child’s vision, according to Dr. Berry. The main goal of treatment is to optimize visual development by improving the vision and the eye alignment. Treatment options may include prescription glasses, patching an eye, surgery or a combination.
“This can strengthen the lazy eye by improving the connection between the eye and the brain,” says Dr. Berry.
Sometimes surgery is needed to straighten the eyes. It is a one-day procedure and kids can return to school and their regular life activities after a few days of rest. Common side effects are pain, redness and double vision, which are often temporary.
“If you suspect your child may have lazy eye, get his or her vision checked,” says Dr. Berry. “Early detection and treatment are key in achieving the best outcome.”
Children are either born with lazy eye, or it can develop between the ages of 1 and 4.