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Amblyopia and Your Child's Eyes

How Is Amblyopia Treated? continued...

As the child keeps using only the eye with amblyopia, his or her vision will continue to improve. After the doctor determines that vision is back to normal, your child will not have to wear the patch. Some children may again lose some vision and need to undergo another round of wearing a patch. In cases of mild amblyopia, the doctor might recommend using an eye drop called atropine in the "good" eye instead of a patch. Atropine dilates the pupil and blurs the vision in the "good” eye, forcing the "bad" eye to do most of the work while the child is playing with toys, eating, drawing, or reading.

Most children with amblyopia will also need glasses to help focus. If there is something such as a cataract blocking light from getting into the eye, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the blockage. If strabismus is preventing the eyes from moving together correctly, your doctor might recommend surgery on the muscles of the eye. Your doctor will discuss with you what treatment is most appropriate for your child.

What Is the Outlook for Children With Amblyopia?

If existing underlying problems are treated and the amblyopia is detected and treated early, most children will gain vision. Amblyopia becomes much more difficult to treat after about 7-9 years of age, so stick to the recommendations about early childhood exams.

Follow your doctor's advice about treatment even when it’s difficult -- many children do not want to wear an eye patch every day. With the use of atropine as an alternative method of treatment, success is now possible in a larger proportion of children with amblyopia.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan Kozarsky, MD on September 29, 2013

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