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Pre-school Screening:

Another need within the eye program is for volunteers for pre-school vision screening teams. There are many opportunities to expand on our community service obligations in this very rewarding way. Your Visual Research Secretary Emeritus was very active in this field for many years.

 


Prevent Blindness America

Frequently Asked Questions about Amblyopia

Q: What is amblyopia?

Amblyopia is reduced vision in an eye that has not received adequate use during early childhood.

Q: What causes amblyopia?

Amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye," has many causes. Most often it results from either a misalignment of a child's eyes, such as crossed eyes, or a difference in image quality between the two eyes (one eye focusing better than the other.) In both cases, one eye becomes stronger, suppressing the image of the other eye. If this condition persists, the weaker eye may becomes useless.

 

Q: Can anything be done to treat amblyopia and prevent vision loss?

With early diagnosis and treatment, the sight in the "lazy eye" can be restored.
 

Q: When should treatment for amblyopia begin?

The earlier the treatment, the better the opportunity to reverse the vision loss.
 

Q: What treatments are available?

Before treating amblyopia, it may be necessary to first treat the underlying cause.
 

bulletGlasses are commonly prescribed to improve focusing or misalignment of the eyes.

 

bulletSurgery may be performed on the eye muscles to straighten the eyes if non-surgical means are unsuccessful. Surgery can help in the treatment of amblyopia by allowing the eyes to work together better.

 

bulletEye exercises are a limited form of treatment. Exercises may be recommended either before or after surgery to correct faulty visual habits associated with strabismus and to teach comfortable use of the eyes.

Q: What treatment follows the correction of the underlying cause?

The correction may be followed by:

bulletPatching or covering one eye may be required for a period of time ranging from a few weeks to as long as a year. The better-seeing eye is patched, forcing the "lazy" one to work, thereby strengthening its vision.

 

bulletMedication—in the form of eye drops or ointment—may be used to blur the vision of the good eye in order to force the weaker one to work. This is generally a less successful approach.

Q: What happens if amblyopia goes untreated?

If not treated early enough, an amblyopic eye may never develop good vision and may even become functionally blind.
 

Q: How many people have amblyopia?

It is estimated that two to three percent of the general population suffers from this form of visual impairment.
 

Q: Are there any support groups for parents and children who are dealing with amblyopia?

Prevent Blindness America is in the early stages of creating such a group. If you are interested in joining the group or if you can contribute experiences, stories or helpful hints, please visit the Eye Patch Club™.

To learn more about amblyopia, please contact Prevent Blindness America, or the Prevent Blindness affiliate near you.

Visit our Web Forum to share your concerns and ideas with other visitors of our website and to read about their experiences with amblyopia.

 

 

When you join the Eye Patch Club, you receive the Eye Patch Club Kit, containing:

Eye Patch Club News

bulletThe first issue of Eye Patch Club News. This newsletter features tips and techniques for promoting compliance; stories from and about children who are patched; and professional advice from optometrists, ophthalmologists and orthoptists. Each issue also includes a Kids’ Page, with fun games and puzzles for your child. Five additional issues are yours when you complete and return the “Let Us Hear from You” sheet in the kit.
Classroom Guide


 

 


 

bulletThe Classroom Guide. This is for your child's teacher. Sometimes kids who wear patches worry that friends at school won't understand patching. The guide explains everything to the teacher and classmates, and gives them ideas for fun activities to help everyone learn more about their eyes.
Calendar
bulletAn Eye Patch Club calendar and stickers. For every day of wearing the patch as prescribed, your child gets a sticker to put on the calendar. When the calendar is full, send it back to Patch and the pup will send your child a cool, colorable, iron-on t-shirt decal featuring Patch.


 

 

bulletA refrigerator magnet. You can keep Patch's helpful hints up where everyone can see them.

 
bulletA pen pal form. Children in treatment can share their stories with others in the Eye Patch Club. Stories and pictures may be included in future issues of the newsletter or on Patch's page on Prevent Blindness America's web site.

Magnet


 

 

Guide to Safeguarding Your Child's Vision

Ten Warning Signs of Vision Problems in Children:

• Squinting, closing/covering one eye
• Holding a book close to the face
• Losing his/her place while reading
• Excessive clumsiness
• Using a finger while reading
• Tilting the head to one side
• Performing below potential
• Short attention span
• Frequent daydreaming
• Rubbing eyes repeatedly

If your child displays any of these warning signs, contact your local eyecare professional to schedule an eye exam for your child. To locate an eyecare professional in your community, visit the

Teaching your Child About Vision

If your child was born with a vision problem, he/she cannot bring it to your attention since he/she does not know what he/she is missing. Thus, the Better Vision Institute recommends that you and your child visit

. By following Fuzzi, a blurried-eyed student at Good Pupil Elementary, on his adventures throughout the school day, your child can learn that if he/she sees anything blurry, like Fuzzi does, he/she should let you know.

It is also important to realize that even if your child demonstrates good vision clarity, he/she may still have a vision problem. For more information, talk to your local eyecare professional.

Eye Exams & Screenings

Good vision is essential to success in school. In fact, 80 percent of what children learn in their first 12 years comes through their eyes. Thus, the Better Vision Institute would like to make sure that you’re aware of the basics of caring for your child’s vision.

In addition to looking out for warning signs of vision problems, it’s also important to realize the role of vision screenings and eye exams in protecting your children’s vision.

1: Vision screenings, usually performed by a pediatrician, nurse or trained layperson, are designed to assess a child’s vision clarity. In addition, screenings may also pick up certain eye conditions, such as amblopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (wandering eye). However, due to limitations, screenings cannot detect all eye conditions and may even miss some common vision problems.   

2: Eye exams, performed only by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, are the most effective method of detecting vision problems and eye disorders. Even if your child has had a screening, the Better Vision Institute recommends that your child has a comprehensive eye exam before starting school.

Eye Openers

Did you know that the sun can do as much damage to your eyes as it can to your skin? This is especially true for children, whose young eyes let in more UV-rays and spend a lot of time outdoors.  To protect your child’s eyes, make sure he/she wears sunglasses with polycarbonate (shatterproof) lenses that offer 100% UV protection.

Children who use the computer for long periods of time may develop eye strain, since their eyes have to continuously focus on computer images that are made up of tiny, glowing dots called pixels. If you think your child may be straining to see the computer, an eye doctor can prescribe special computer lenses to help alleviate the problem

Send E- mail to Marlang@msn.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: October 25, 2006