How is Amblyopia Treated?
Only a doctor can recommend the right treatment for a child with amblyopia, and that requires a careful examination.
First, any of the problems that cause amblyopia will have to be treated. After the doctor makes sure that the eye is moving correctly, is allowing light to pass through, and is in focus, the right treatment for amblyopia can be recommended.
The most common treatment is to force the brain to start using the eye with amblyopia by putting a patch over the "good" eye. At first, the child will have a hard time seeing with just the weaker eye. It is very important to keep using the patch, however, because this will force the eye with amblyopia to "work harder." Eventually, the vision in the eye with amblyopia will get better. This could take weeks, months, or even a year. But if the child keeps using only the eye with amblyopia, the vision will continue to improve. After the doctor determines that the vision is back to normal, the patch will never be needed again.
For some children with mild amblyopia, the doctor might recommend using an eye drop called atropine in the "good" eye instead of a patch. Atropine makes it impossible for that eye to focus close-up. This forces the eye with amblyopia to do most of the work while the child is playing with toys, eating, drawing, reading and so on. This can also improve the vision in the eye with amblyopia, but it is not always as successful as an eye patch.
Your doctor will be able to tell you what treatment is right for your child.
How successful is treatment to correct Amblyopia?
When other eye problems are treated, and the treatment for amblyopia is started early enough, most children will regain normal vision.
In order for treatment to be successful, however, it must be started as soon as possible. Amblyopia becomes much more difficult to treat after about 6 years of age. And if there is too much vision lost in the eye with amblyopia, it might be impossible to get it all back.
It is also important to follow all of your doctor's advice about treatment. This can be very difficult, because many children do not want to wear an eye patch every day. But if the child is allowed to take the eye patch off, he or she will resume using only the "good" eye to see.
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