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Health Tip: Treating Lazy Eye

Ways to promote better vision

(HealthDay News) -- Amblyopia, or "lazy eye," is the most common cause of visual impairment in childhood.

The condition, which occurs when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly, affects two or three of every 100 children.

Treating amblyopia involves making the child favor the eye with the reduced vision (weaker eye). According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), there are two ways to do this:

  • A drop of a drug called atropine is placed in the stronger eye once a day to temporarily blur the vision so the child will prefer to use the eye with amblyopia.
  • An opaque, adhesive patch is worn over the stronger eye for at least several weeks. Like atropine, patching stimulates vision in the weaker eye and helps the part of the brain that manages vision develop more completely.

Conventional thinking among eye-care professionals was that treating amblyopia in older children would be of little benefit. However, the NEI says recent clinical trials showed that many children aged 7 through 17 with amblyopia may benefit from treatments that are more commonly used on younger kids.

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