Lazy Eye

Young boy with patch on glasses

Lazy eye, also referred to as amblyopia, is a condition that develops in infancy or early childhood, and it typically starts when the focus in one eye is more enhanced than the other. The eye with less focus might be impaired due to a significant amount of farsightedness or astigmatism, or something could be obstructing light from getting through like a cataract or debris in the back of the eye. Amblyopia may also develop due to an ocular misalignment known as strabismus, in which one eye turns inward or outward, keeping the eyes from focusing together on an object. This can cause double vision.

How Lazy Eye Effects Your Vision

In all of these cases, the brain receives two different images—be it one blurry and one sharp visual of the same object, or two completely different visuals. In order to compensate, the brain, over time, learns to ignore the image it receives from the impaired or deviated eye, causing vision in that eye to weaken to the point of permanent visual deficiency.

A complete eye exam is recommended for all children between the ages 3 and 5. However, if your child is younger and you have a family history of amblyopia, or notice that his or her eye wanders inward or outward, or if the eyes do not appear to work in unison, it is important that you seek out an opthalmologist or optometrist sooner.

A lazy eye can be corrected and vision can be gained with eye patches, eye drops, prisms, contact lenses, glasses, surgery, or vision therapy if a diagnosis is made early and treatment is administered. Amblyopia is more challenging to treat after the child has passed the age of 7 or 9.

To determine whether your child has lazy eye, a complete eye exam will be needed. The child’s optometrist will look for a wandering eye and assess the vision of both eyes, looking specifically for poor vision in one or both. Tests may include:

  • Looking for cataracts or debris behind the eye(s) using a lighted magnifying device
  • Photo screening
  • Remote autorefraction
  • Putting a patch over each eye and having the child look at picture or letters
  • Examining the eyes’ ability to gaze, fixate on and follow a moving object

Treatment for Lazy Eye

Regarding treatment, the first step may be to rectify any underlying problems in the “bad” eye before applying a patch over the normal functioning eye. While the child will have difficulty seeing with only the weaker eye at first, vision will eventually improve as the brain is forced to use it. This can take weeks or months.

If the child’s amblyopia is mild, the optometrist might solely recommend using atropine in the functioning eye, rather than wearing a patch. The eye drop helps dilate the pupil and blurs the vision in the normal working eye, which causes the malfunctioning eye to do most of the heavy lifting, figuratively speaking.

Many children with a lazy eye will also need glasses or contact lenses to assist with focusing. Should the child have a cataract or debris behind the eye that is blocking light from getting in, surgery may be needed to remove the blockage. Surgery or visual therapy may also be needed if strabismus is present and severe. Operating on the muscles of the eye, or performing certain eye exercises, will allow the eyes to move together.

Testimonials

  • Dr. Joyce is the most compassionate, caring person I have ever met. She is very intelligent, explains the eye tests and results, and offers suggestions to keep my eyes healthy. I consider her a friend as well as a fabulous eye doctor.

    - Doreen W
  • Dr. Joyce was affable and professional. Most thorough eye exam I’ve experienced. State of the art facilities. Friendly and knowledgeable office staff. Highly recommended.

    - Steven C
  • Very professional & friendly staff, very clean office with top of the line eye care equipment for extremely thorough eye care exam. Dr. Joyce in addition to examining my eye sight reviewed very detailed results of my overall eye health.

    - Stephanie B
  • The staff are friendly and competent. Dr Joyce takes time to explain any tests that were performed. Great experience.

    - Beverly K
  • Very thorough. explained what is going on with my vision and was able to fit me with contact lenses that feel great and now have no need for reading glasses.

    - Boyd D
  • Dr. Joyce is top notch and has all of the cutting-edge technology. I also bring my children to her. We used to see her when she was at Schwartz Eyecare in Newtown and we were thrilled when she opened her office in Richboro...even closer to us! You'll be well taken care of if you choose her as your ophthalmologist.

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  • of the best, most thorough, articulate, accessible doctors I’ve ever seen. Her office is packed full of state of the art cool eye tools that provide incredible insight (oops... pun actually works) and she explains so that this non-medical patient can understand. This exam was most comprehensive. One of my eye doctors is a friend and even when visiting him in Santa Monica office, the time Dr Joyce spent with me was comparable. I only wish she had more specialties (e.g. dermatology, podiatry). I’m a patient now so I feel safe. You better call for an appointment now lest she stops taking new patients. Thank you, Dr Joyce!

    ...
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  • Dr Joyce was extremely pleasant, informative, thorough and professional. She took the time to go over all of my test results and explain what they meant. She was able to identify some personal care items that I could do to improve my particular concern. I was very impressed with her personal approach to her practice and patients.

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  • This was my first time at Eyecare For You. The facility was very clean and the office staff pleasant. The young man who I was with in the beginning to do the initial check in process was very efficient, professional and it was very evident that he took his job seriously. I especially liked that he cleaned off each piece of equipment prior to my resting my chin and forehead on them. Dr Joyce was also very professional and personable. Her work ethic was spot on, and she explained each process very clearly and made sure I understood before she moved on to the next section. The equipment seemed to be the most current and I was overall very impressed with the care I received here. I will be returning.

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  • Excellent experience with Dr Joyce and others on the staff. No need to get records transferred from previous eye care center. Eyecare For You appears to have the latest hi-tech testing equipment and will determine the best option(s) to improve your vision to its maximum capability. I expect my new prescription glasses with anti-glare coating will minimize glare at night and should allow me to see better than ever. Cost was very reasonable. I have already recommended two friends to call for an appointment ASAP.

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  • Dr. Kathleen Joyce is absolutely amazing! I haven't seen her in over 2 years but she still made me feel like I just saw her last week. She pays attention to details and makes you excited to see her in the office! She really goes the extra mile

    - Cassi LP.
  • Dr. Joyce was thorough, explained procedures completely, and on top of that was friendly and very down to earth. I really could not ask for more!

    - Kathy F.
  • Dr. Joyce is an excellent doctor, diagnostician and communicator.

    - Catherine L.
  • Dr. Joyce make me feel welcome and, did explain everything about my exam results in detail.

    - Robert M.
  • Very efficient, competent, and solved my contact problems. Now I can wear them all the time without discomfort. Dr. Joyce is very professional yet friendly!

    - Jessica M.
  • Dr. Joyce is awesome she makes you feel at home and is very calm.

    - K. I.
  • Dr. Joyce is amazing!

    - Kevin H.

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