Bethel LIONS first SEE screening in August 2008

Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is the loss of an eye's ability to see details. The cause is from lack of use of that eye in early childhood.
The Cleveland Clinic explains that the eyes of very young children will not develop correctly unless vision is aligned, balanced and focused. Sometimes the vision in one eye is worse than the vision in the other eye. When this happens, the brain will start to "ignore" the eye with worse vision. This actually makes the vision in that eye even worse.
With amblyopia, not only will the image be blurry, it will get very dim. The eye can also stop moving normally, and it might stay turned away to the side. This is why amblyopia is sometimes called "lazy eye," according to the reference from the Cleveland Clinic.
The prevalence of amblyopia ranges from 1.0-3.5% in healthy children.
Amblyopia can be caused by any condition that causes one eye to be favored and the other ignored by the brain.
Some of the causes which can lead to amblyopia include strabismus (crossed eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism (a condition in which the cornea-- the clear covering of the front of the eye--has an abnormal curve, causing out-of-focus vision) and childhood cataracts.
Amblyopia often starts before there is any obvious sign that something is wrong. This is why babies and young children need to have their eyes checked at regularly scheduled appointments with the doctor.
In addition to your child’s regular doctor’s visits for check-ups, vision screening using an instrument which measures the refractive error (the leading cause of amblyopia) in a child’s eyes is available. This test is non-invasive and takes a few seconds to perform. It is available through the LIONS SEE (Screening Eyes Early) Program (716-881-7915 Jennifer Butkowski, program administrator) and your local LIONS club.
Specially trained Lions Club volunteers will visit child care facilities and take digital readings of children whose parents have agreed to participate. The digital readings will be read and evaluated by professionals at the Ira G. Ross Eye Institute in Buffalo. Parents will be informed if any problems have been detected.  This service is provided free of charge by the LIONS SEE Program and your local LIONS club.
Follow-up information and assistance, including a list of local optometrists and ophthalmologists, will be provided.
Only a doctor can recommend the right treatment for a child at risk for amblyopia. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better the result. If left untreated, amblyopia can lead to blindness. Conversely, if treatment is started early enough, most children will regain normal vision.
                                                            Larysa Dyrszka
                                                             Bethel LIONS

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