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Health Tip: Lazy Eye

It's important to treat early

(HealthDayNews) -- Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood, the U.S. National Institutes of Health says.

Amblyopia occurs when vision in one eye is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. This usually happens when one eye is stronger than the other, and the brain starts to favor the dominant eye.

Parents should look for symptoms including poor vision, squinting or closing one eye while reading or watching television, or tilting the head when looking at an object. Also, one eye could appear crossed or turned.

Doctors can treat amblyopia by placing a drug called atropine in the stronger eye once a day to temporarily blur that eye's vision. That way, the child will prefer to use the eye with amblyopia. An opaque, adhesive patch also can be worn over the stronger eye.

Amblyopia must be caught and treated early. After a child is 8 to 10, the brain's vision system cannot develop further. At that point treatment is difficult to impossible, and the person faces a lifetime of sub-par vision.

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