Ambylopia, commonly known as “lazy eye” normally affects children early in life. It is a vision development disorder, and normally happens when the eyesight in one eye does not develop at the same rate as the other eye. However, amblyopia can happen in both eyes as well.
Ambylopia is difficult to spot, as it typically starts during infancy and early childhood. If it is detected and treated early, there is a good chance of avoiding reduced vision. Untreated amblyopia can cause permanent loss of vision in the affected one eye or even both eyes.
It should be highlighted that lazy eye is the leading cause of decreased vision in infants and children. Factors associated with increased risk of amblyopia are premature birth, underweight babies and family history.
Symptoms of Ambylopia:
Parents of infants and young children should look out for the following symptoms:
- blurry vision in one eye
- double vision
- poor depth perception
- eye is turned either upward, downward, inward or outward
- eyes seem to focus differently, i.e., uncoordinated
If parents feel any of the above symptoms are displayed, it is important for the infant or child to immediately undergo a vision check by a qualified ophthalmologist, i.e., a doctor specializing in eye and vision problems.
Another important point to highlight is if there is a family history of crossed eyes or other eye conditions, the infant or child must undergo regular vision checks by an ophthalmologist as well
Causes of Ambylopia:
The name “lazy eye” is rather misleading, because the eye is not actually “lazy” per se, but it is a developmental disorder of the nerve connected to the brain. Many children who have anisometropia, or unequal vision, do not realize they have an eye problem because the brain and the stronger eye compensate for the weaker eye, making the weaker eye progressively worse as it receives fewer visual signals, which is when amblyopia develops.
The three common causes of amblyopia are:
- Strabismus amblyopia – which is an imbalance of the muscles in one or both eyes, which can be noticed in eyes that either turn out or cross in, i.e., they are not coordinated.
- Refractive amblyopia – a significant difference between the prescription units (commonly known as the power) in each eye. It can be due to nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism which is the uneven curvature of the cornea. This is corrected by prescription glasses or contact lenses.
- Deprivation amblyopia – the most severe type of amblyopia where one eye is affected. A cataract (cloudy area) in the lens will lessen vision in the affected eye. Deprivation amblyopia in infants must be treated urgently in order to prevent permanent loss of vision.
Diagnosis of amblyopia:
Your ophthalmologist will conduct various eye tests which will include:
- Overall Eye health
- Eye coordination
- Difference in vision between the eyes
- Poor vision in one or both eyes
Treatment for lazy eye:
Treatments for amblyopia can include:
- eye exercises
- corrective eyewear
- eye patches
- Bangerter filter
- medication in the form of eyedrops
After the tests are done, your ophthalmologist will review the results and prescribe suitable treatment methods according to the eye condition of your infant or child.
Please note: This article is intended to provide a general outline on Amblyopia or lazy eye, and should in no way be taken as medical advice. Further detailed information must be obtained from your family doctor or a qualified ophthalmologist who will be able to diagnose amblyopia correctly and suggest treatments suitable for your infant or child.
Early medical intervention is vital to save an infant’s or child’s vision from deterioration, as untreated amblyopia can lead to irreversible total loss of vision.
1st July 19:40