Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Ideally, lazy eye treatment begins in early childhood — when the complicated connections between the eye and the brain are forming. Depending on the cause and the degree to which your child's vision is affected, treatment options may include:
- Corrective eye wear. If a condition such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism is contributing to lazy eye, corrective glasses or contact lenses will likely be prescribed. Sometimes corrective eyewear is all that's needed.
- Eye patches. To stimulate the weaker eye, your child may wear an eye patch over the stronger eye — possibly for two or more hours a day depending on the severity of the lazy eye. This helps the part of the brain that manages vision develop more completely.
- Eyedrops. A daily or twice-weekly drop of a drug called atropine can temporarily blur vision in the stronger eye. This will encourage use of the weaker eye, and offers an alternative to wearing a patch.
- Surgery. If your child has crossed or outwardly deviating eyes, the eye muscles may benefit from surgical repair. Droopy eyelids or cataracts also may need surgical intervention.
For most children with lazy eye, proper treatment improves vision within weeks to several months — and the earlier treatment begins, the better. Although research suggests that the treatment window extends through at least age 17, results are better when treatment begins in early childhood.
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