Pediatric ophthalmologists at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone may prescribe medicated eye drops for a lazy eye caused by strabismus or anisometropia. The drops—which contain atropine, a medication that dilates the pupils and blurs close-up vision—are placed in the healthy eye. The goal is to encourage your child to rely on the lazy eye, helping it become stronger over time.
The advantage of atropine over occlusive therapy is that its effect lasts all day, and you don’t have to worry about your child removing a patch from his or her eye.
Medication may also be an option for children who don’t want to wear the patch because of a busy lifestyle. For example, kids who play sports may find the patch cumbersome.
Atropine drops are administered once a day. Therapy may continue for weeks or months depending on the severity of the lazy eye and how long it takes vision to normalize, or become closer to the vision of the healthy eye.
Side effects are rare but include redness or swelling around the eye, skin flushing, and fever. If any of these occur, tell your pediatric ophthalmologist.