Amblyopia (lazy eye)

Amblyopia is a developmental disorder of vision, in which one eye does not reach the adequate visual acuity, even when using glasses or contact lenses. This problem is often called a lazy eye.

Amblyopia most often appears in the infancy, sometimes in early childhood and most often affects one eye, but there are cases of a decrease in sharpness of vision in both eyes. Early diagnosis allows to treating of lazy eye, and thus prevent the deterioration of visibility in the future. Leaving the disease without treatment can cause severe vision problems and, in some cases, even blindness.

Symptoms of Amblyopia

Because amblyopia is usually a developmental problem in newborns, the symptoms of the disease may not be easy to discern. If, however, there will be signs such as strabismus, frequent rubbing of the eyes, crying after covering over the eye, suspicious changes, etc., it is worth to visit the doctor.

Causes of Amblyopia

Amblyopia usually starts with the deterioration of sharpness in one eye, sometimes accompanied by high myopia or astigmatism.

When in a result of lazy eye, the child’s brain receives a fuzzy image, it gradually begins to ignore it, and over the years, in the absence of treatment, the condition of vision in the affected eye starts to deteriorate significantly.

The disease sometimes occurs due to the incorrect orientation of the eye – squint (strabismus), which also can lead to amblyopia. Children who have trouble focusing on the visual image, often see double. A clear image begins to be ignored by the eye and can worsen the view. Often, due to blocking light from passing through the optical system of the eye, may appear visual impairment associated with cataract, anemia or other problem related to the back of the eye.

Diagnose Amblyopia

Diagnosing lazy eye should take place as soon as possible, so prophylactically, all children should be examined from this angle before going to school. During the test, it is checked whether:

  • nothing is blocking the light entering the eye;
  • both eyes see well;
  • each eye is moving and working properly.

If your doctor during a routine examination notice any abnormalities, directs the child to a specialist in ophthalmology, to conduct more research. Parents who see any irregularities should also consult their concerns about the functioning of the child’s eyes with the ophthalmologist.

It is recommended to regularly examine children for eye diseases, preferably at the age of 6 months, three years and then every two years when they are already attending school. Cases of amblyopia occurring in the family, increase the probability of the disease in the child.

Treatment of Amblyopia

The most common method of treatment for amblyopia is to force the child’s brain to start using the weaker eye. In the first place, however, the doctor corrects all other eye problems such as myopia, hypersensitivity or astigmatism. Often, such children need correctional glasses, which allows for a better concentration of vision. If there was a cataract blocking access of light to the eyes, the doctor might recommend surgery to remove the flaw.

The later stage is to cover with a specialist overlay of a stronger (healthier) eye, which will force the brain to work with the weaker one. Initially, the child may have vision problems, but it is essential for the eye to work, which over time will bring tangible results. The vision is getting better even after a few weeks, but you must follow the doctor’s instructions so that the treatment can produce results.

When sight begins to be better, an overlay over a better eye can be worn less. However, there are cases where, after a healthy eye is exposed, the weaker one loses its vision, then the return to treatment for an extended period is a must. In mild cases, the doctor may recommend the use of eye drops that are scratched on the healthy eye to blur the image, which forces the weaker eye to work, and the child does not have to wear an overlay or patch. Sometimes the doctor recommends additional eye exercises.

When at the same time, there is also the problem of squint, the doctor may recommend a surgical procedure on the eye muscles.

Early treatment can effectively combat the disease, but in the case of children from 7-9 years of age, the problem may be much more serious, more advanced, and in extreme circumstances even irreversible.

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