If you've noticed your child appears to have a lazy eye -- an eye that is even slightly out of alignment when the other eye is obviously focused -- it's important to schedule an eye exam promptly. The sooner that an eye doctor diagnoses the problem, the sooner you can take action to prevent it from getting worse.
Interestingly, a popular activity among youngsters -- playing handheld video games -- is proving to be helpful for resolving this condition.
About Lazy Eye
Medically known as amblyopia, the condition involves one eye not focusing clearly, even with prescription lenses. The most common reason this occurs is because of misaligned eyes. The brain begins ignoring visual signals from one eye because blurred or double vision occurs when using input from both eyes. If the problem isn't addressed early on, the ignored eye can lose a significant and irreversible amount of normal functioning.
About Vision Therapy for Amblyopia
Doctors have traditionally prescribed the wearing of an eye patch over the more functional eye for several hours a day. This essentially forces the "lazy" eye to work more effectively and, in many cases, can help prevent a future need for surgery to correct the misalignment.
Children tend to dislike wearing the patch, as you can imagine. Letting them play a video game during the eye patch time takes their mind off the annoyance. They quickly associate an eye patch with a fun activity. Playing this type of game is especially helpful for amblyopia because the weak eye must focus, track and coordinate with what the hands are doing.
Kids generally are allowed to play the game for up to an hour or for two shorter sessions while wearing the patch. The rest of the time, they do other activities that build strength in the eye's functioning, such as putting jigsaw puzzles together or coloring with crayons. An eye doctor provides a customized schedule for each patient that can be done at home.
Dual Vision for Video Games
A more recent form of therapy dispenses with the patching. Instead, the person wears special goggles while playing video games; the goggles allow each eye to see different components of the games. This encourages the eyes to coordinate their functioning.
Following research that found this type of therapy effective for both children and adults with amblyopia, a specific type of technology was developed specifically to get both eyes working together. Once the Food & Drug Administration approves the product, doctors can prescribe the goggles and a tablet with a video game that improves visual perception. It can be customized for each patient's particular needs.
What You Can Do Now
Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to evaluate your child's eye health and vision. Once you have a definitive diagnosis of amblyopia along with the doctor's expert advice, you can team up to help your child regain full visual functioning. For more information, contact a business such as Mid-America Vision Center.Share