Although most children are born with healthy eyes, there are certain vision problems that sometimes affect youngsters. For this reason, the type of eye specialist DFW parents choose should be one who is knowledgeable about disorders such as amblyopia, strabismus or other conditions from which their child may be suffering.
Amblyopia and Strabismus
Amblyopia refers to a disorder that causes a decrease in vision. The condition is idiopathic in nature, meaning there is no obvious structural abnormality that explains its presence. This particular problem is not correctable, but certain treatments are available to control its progress. Amblyopia occurs in approximately 2% of all children and can affect one or both eyes. Strabismus is the technical term for eyes that turn out–commonly referred to as crossed eyes. This condition may be the result of a misalignment that occurs when one or more of the six muscles that control the human eye fail to properly function. The disorder essentially prevents the eyes from working as a team, initially causing faulty depth perception, double vision or vision impairment. Strabismus occurs in 2-5% of children. Some youngsters outgrow the disorder; however, if this does not happen or if the condition is ignored, the child is at risk of vision loss in one eye. This is because if the root cause is not addressed in early childhood, one eye will eventually succumb to amblyopia.
After an appointment is made with an experienced eye specialist Dallas families will likely find that diagnostic procedures include alternately blocking the vision of each eye. However, some children become stressed and annoyed with this technique. For this reason, certain clinics embrace newer methods, such as optical evaluation using a moving target and a video eye tracker. The child thinks that he or she is simply watching television, but a physician is diagnosing his or her eyes to see if they are working together in a normal pattern or if signs of strabismus are present.
Treatment of strabismus typically centers on improving the child’s eye muscles and preventing the development of amblyopia. In some cases, special glasses are worn or drops are placed in the good eye to blur its vision temporarily, which will ideally strengthen the weakest eye. This method is thought to be as effective as the traditional eye patch, but is not associated with the negative psychological issues that sometimes affect children who must wear a patch. Such treatments can prevent double vision and eye strain, as well as promote normal field vision.
A procedure called adjustable sutures is another available option, although this type of surgery is more often recommend for adult patients. It involves fine-tuning the eyes into exact alignment, similar to the way a mechanic aligns the headlights of an automobile. Finally, drug therapy is also now offered as a solution for some types of strabismus. This is accomplished by injecting certain drugs into the stronger eye muscle to temporarily weaken it for the purpose of allowing the weaker eye to gain strength. The drug typically wears off in approximately sixty days, after which eye alignment and proper muscle balance are restored if the treatment was successful.
If the presence of strabismus or amblyopia are suspected, Dr. Marvelli is the best eye specialist DFW parents will find for diagnosing these maladies and should be contacted as soon as possible (817-346-7333). Our team at the Marvel Eye Center will ensure that an appropriate diagnosis is made and proper treatment pursued. For more information on what Dr. Marvelli can do for strabismus or amblyopia, take a look here on his website.