What is amblyopia?
Amblyopia is commonly thought of as a type of "lazy eye". In amblyopia, there might not appear to be a noticeable problem of the eye. On the outside, the eye appears normal, but functionally, there are many issues that need to be resolved. It occurs when one eye is unable to achieve normal eyesight during visual development. In this case, even prescription lenses are unable to bring that eye to the sought after "20/20". Overtime, the disintegration between how the eyes and brain work together becomes magnified. The brain suppresses or ignores the signal from the weaker eye, depending only on input from the "good eye". Many amblyopes require vision therapy to regain operative use of central vision used in visual processing. This allows the child to regain visual function in both eyes, not one.
What causes amblyopia?
- Refractive error
- Cataract, droopy eyelid, other eye diseases
Is my child at risk factors for amblyopia?
- Were they born premature?
- Were they born smaller than average?
- Do you have a family history of amblyopia, childhood cataracts or other eye conditions?
- Does your child have any developmental disabilities?
What is Strabismus?
Strabismus is commonly known as "cross eyes". In a strabismic patient, the eyes do not line up, causing numerous issues with visual function and development. Two types of strabismus are esotropia and exotropia. Esotropia is defined by an inward turning eye, whereas exotropia is defined as an outward turning eye. In both strabismus and amblyopia (any type), the patient may experience double vision when trying to use both eyes, resulting in suppression of the weaker eye. In this case, the brain is no longer receiving input from both eyes, and the result is disruption or lack of the binocular vision system.
What are signs & symptoms of amblyopia and strabismus?
- Shutting one eye
- Head tilt
- Lack of or poor depth perception
- Eyes appear to not work together
- Headaches due to visual stress
- Poor spatial recognition
- Reduced eyesight
- Self-esteem issues, especially if one eye is visibly misaligned
What does vision therapy do in this case?
Vision therapy works to lessen the workload of the "good eye" and retrain both eyes to work and function together. With vision therapy, it is expected that your child will likely improve their eyesight and depth perception as well as learn how to use their eyes so that the eyes themselves are cosmetically lined up. In order to be a successful student and individual, we must be able to be efficient. Two eyes are better than one! Imagine just how hard your child is working to accomplish tasks with half of their visual system intact. Our goal here is to increase efficiency while boosting confidence and comprehension in our children.