What is Lazy Eye and How is it Treated?

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Eye alignment disorders are treated by an ophthalmologist, the same type of medical doctor that can perform eye surgeries, such as those at Utah Valley Eye, who do more than just perform Lasik in the Provo area. Amblyopia is colloquially called, “Lazy Eye,” which simply means that the brain receives confusing information from the crossed eye or eyes and shuts that input down. This can cause permanent damage to a child’s eyesight.

When should I worry about my baby’s crossed eyes?

It is normal for newborns’ eyes to cross occasionally, and in most cases, not an indication of a bigger problem. Babies’ eyes can appear crossed in infancy and toddlerhood due to an illusion caused by the size of the bridge of the nose. This makes it more difficult to diagnose true crossed eyes for parents. If the crossing doesn’t seem to resolve or the eyes stay in that position without changing for more than a while or so, schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional.

Sometimes, an eye can cross when a child is trying to look at something. This is normal if the object is near the child’s face, but if you notice your child’s eye/eyes crossing during play time as they look at something in the distance, or at story time, it’s advisable to schedule an appointment.

When visiting an ophthalmologist, your child’s eyes will be dilated, and the doctor will perform a thorough examination. If you’ve never seen a small child get their eyes checked, it is fascinating to watch the doctor using lenses to determine the child’s visual acuity.

Are there different conditions that cause eye misalignments?

There are two conditions that affect the alignment of the eyes, Esotropia and Exotropia. Some children develop a permanent crossed eye or eyes, called Esotropia. Exotropia, where the eyes turn outward, is the other condition that affects the eyes’ alignment.

How are Esotropia and Exotropia treated?

If true misalignment is detected, treatment is dependent on the severity and cause of the “turn.” Since both of these conditions, if left untreated, can result in a loss of vision, or Amblyopia, the earlier the diagnosis, the better. Treatment plans include wearing eyeglasses, patching one eye, drops, or even surgical correction. Doctors will discuss your options upon diagnosis.

If your child has developed the crossed eye/eyes due to an accommodative reaction to poor vision, they will likely be fitted with glasses.

Helping Your Young Child Adapt to Eyeglasses

Babies and toddlers can wear glasses successfully, and many times, they accept them almost immediately. Parents should be cautious of using eyeglass straps, as they can be strangulation hazards.

For most children, there is an adaptation period during which gentle consistency from parents will help them adjust to their new glasses. Some parents report that their children like putting their glasses in a special spot, decorating the glasses case with stickers, etc., and developing a “glasses” routine speeds up the adjustment period.

At Utah Valley Eye, we are able to treat patients at all stages of life, from the early diagnosis of eye alignment to performing Lasik surgery in our Provo office.

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