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Amblyopia

What is the Condition?

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” describes weak vision in one or both eyes that cannot be completely corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Amblyopia occurs when either one or both of the eyes are not fully developed during early childhood; children’s vision properly develops between birth and 10 years of age. Those with amblyopia cannot fully achieve normal eyesight, even with spectacles or contact lenses. In most cases, only one eye is affected.

How Does it Affect the Eye?

If amblyopia is detected at an early age, it can be treated and there may be no reduced vision. However, if it is ignored or not treated early enough, serious visual disability will occur and there may be a possibility of legal blindness in the affected eye.

How Many Types of Amblyopia are there?

There are three types of amblyopia:

Deprivation Amblyopia:

As the name suggests, this occurs when light is partially or complete blocked from reaching the patient’s eye(s). This could be due to a cataract or glaucoma.

Strabismus Amblyopia:

This is the most common form of amblyopia. When a child has a misaligned or turned eye, the brain disregards the visual input from the turned eye, which leads to the occurrence of amblyopia.

Refractive Amblyopia:

In certain cases, unequal refractive errors (large difference in each eye’s prescription) occurs. In such patients, their brain begins to rely on the eye with the lower refractive error (lower prescription), slowly disregarding the sight of the other eye, resulting in amblyopia.

What are the symptoms of this condition?

The Symptoms are as Follows:
  • Reduced depth perception (difficulty judging relative distances between objects)
  • Poor vision in either one or both eyes
  • Misaligned eyes (Strabismus)
  • Squinting, tilting the head or closing one eye to see
  • Headaches
What are the Risk Factors for Developing this Condition?

Some of the risk factors include:

  • Strabismus
  • Childhood glaucoma or cataract
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Certain genetic disorders that distress the eyes
  • Formation of an eye tumor that blocks the patient’s pupil
  • Different prescriptions between the eyes
How is this Condition Treated?

The best way to treat this condition is by forcing the patient to use their affected eye. This could be achieved by covering the better eye (patching therapy) or reducing its vision using special foils applied to the glasses of the good eye to force the amblyopic eye to work. This helps strengthen the bad eye, by forcing it to visually focus while the other eye is temporarily impaired.

Patients that are suffering from Refractive Amblyopia could be prescribed spectacles. If the child is suffering from Deprivation Amblyopia due to a cataract or glaucoma, it could be surgically removed.

It is in the best interest of your child to get them checked for amblyopia at an early stage. If it is detected early, some part-time treatment can be done until their vision is completely developed.