Free treatment for lazy eye? Well free eye care is worth what it costs-but a simple eye drop prescription may be able to save you a thousand dollars or more in treatment fees. And that’s equivalent to a lot of free office visits.
Forget the pirate patch, eye drops are the treatment of choice today for lazy eye. No more daily struggles with your child to keep an eye patch on, one drop in the morning and your responsibility is done for the day. Lazy eye, (technically referred to as Amblyopia), is the most common cause of permanent sight loss in children and if not treated by age 7 to 9 it persists into adulthood with permanent damage to the visual cortex area of the brain. It is the leading cause of vision loss in one eye in the 20-70 year old age group, occurring in around 3% of the population.
Most of the information on the success of treatment of lazy eye has been from limited,uncontrolled studies. There is a great opportunity for future learning about improving the treatment of lazy eye.
Amblyopia is still usually treated with outdated methods of occlusion (patching) of the eye that sees well. Patching therapy typically has very poor compliance, especially since you cannot be with your child every minute of the day. Kids don’t like wearing patches after the novelty wears off and may be subjected to ridicule by peers. Evidence indicates that compliance is probably the most important factor in the outcome of treatment of lazy eye.
Using a cycloplegic eye drop that prevents the good eye from focusing forces the lazy eyes to work to see thing at closer distances. As a side effect of the drops the pupil of the good eye stays dilated, so it needs some form of UV protection in eyeglasses or sunglasses. This is not a new method but it has started catching on due to recent studies showing it is effective and very well accepted by parents and children. Without a patch blocking one eye completely the child is able to maintain some level of binocular vision which helps the treatment process. It also assures there is no impairment to peripheral vision, making it a safer alternative to a patch.
Atropine is the drop normally used but we substitute homatropine. It is safer and in my opinion there is really no need to keep the effect lasting overnight while the child is asleep.
There is a tremendous cost and time saving to the parent due to less frequent office visits and a great reduction in the amount of eye exercises needed to restore the sight. If you think there is no way you can get a drop in your child’s eye every day we have a secret for that too. If your child has a lazy eye we can help make it easy and fun!