Treatment of Amblyopia

Treatment for amblyopia begins as soon after diagnosis as possible. Early treatment usually can reverse the condition. Treatment should begin before a child’s vision has fully developed (around age 9 or 10). The younger the child is when treatment begins, the better his or her chances are for developing good vision. Amblyopia can be hard to correct after age 9. But studies suggest that treatment beyond this age can still correct amblyopia. Glasses or contact lenses improve some conditions, such as unequal vision. Other conditions, such as cataracts and some forms of strabismus, may require surgery.
A child born with a cataract or any defect that keeps light out of the eye needs immediate treatment because amblyopia may become permanent within a few months. Amblyopia that results from misaligned eyes (strabismus) or unequal vision in the eyes (anisometropia) usually develops more slowly. Treatment corrects amblyopia by training the brain to use visual signals from the eye with weaker vision, building a stronger connection between the brain and the weak eye, and allowing vision to develop normally in that eye.There are several ways to force the weak eye to get stronger. Methods include wearing an eye patch (also called occlusion) and using eyedrops or glasses (also called penalization). The most common type of penalization treatment uses eyedrops (usually atropine) to blur the vision in the stronger eye and force the brain to use the weaker eye. Eyeglasses with a blurry lens over the stronger eye force the brain to use the weaker eye.

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