Early screenings improve ‘lazy eye’ outcomes


Amblyopia is poor vision in an eye that does
not develop normal sight during early childhood. It’s commonly referred to as lazy eye, and
it affects 3-5% of the population. Basically, amblyopia is where the brain and the eye don’t
communicate well, which can lead to the brain shutting off that eye. Children are susceptible to amblyopia because
their brain is developing. If they have a need for glasses or have a strabismus where
their eye is turned in, then the brain will turn off, they’ll have amblyopia and they
have a limited time in which you can treat it. Pediatric Ophthalmologist Dr. Longmuir and
her team examined data over the last 10 years and discovered children can receive vision
screening as early as 1 year old to detect for amblyopia. And the earlierefrar the discovery,
the sooner treatment can begin. Amblyopia is treated with an eye patch. Typically,
we use a sticky Band-Aid type patch that they wear, so it is visible to their friends, their
families. The treatment is extremely successful when done correctly. If we don’t wake it up by patching, it will
be forever trapped at that bad vision. It’s extremely important for children to be found
with this disease. No other medical condition in ophthalmology
can be corrected with something as simple as a sticky patch or glasses. With proper
treatment, children’s can return to perfect vision. The younger the child, they seem to respond
quicker to the treatment because they have more immature visual pathways. A one or two
year old child doesn’t have the social stigma of a 5 or 6 year old. Vision screening is a quicker, easier way
to detect the risk factors of amblyopia without having to see a doctor and go through a dilated
eye exam. The Lions Club performs vision screenings across the state at daycares and schools. Any child that has an amblyopic risk factor
or risk factor for lazy eye will then get an eye exam. Having a child as young as one examined for
amblyopia is also much easier than a standard eye exam. You can do this on non-verbal children. You
can do it on non-cooperative children. All you have to do is like taking a picture of
them, and you can get great amounts of information. And if lazy eye is discovered earlier, as
the new research shows, that means the better chance of the treatment working. This kids, you won’t know that they have it.
It’s horrible. I’ve found kids that are 10 and they come to the doctor, and they just
were missed and there’s hardly anything you can do to get their vision better. But if
they came to medical attention at 2 or 3, then we could of patched them or given them
glasses and they would have 20/20.

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