Learn more about Amblyopia, including The Symptoms, The Causes, and The Treatments.
Amblyopia is when one of the eyes is lazy.
Amblyopia occurs between birth and 7/8 yrs old. It is when one of the eyes do not function or behave the same way as the other, and therefore is used less. The brain begins to ignore the less used eye, which leads to poor visual development in lesser-used eye. This results in a difference in vision and visual function between the two eyes.
Amblyopia can affect both eyes but is more rare.
Amblyopia is a vision development problem that occurs at a young age, which can be more difficult to detect when a child is very young and/or non-verbal. Common signs to look out for are; strabismus, when one or both eyes turn. If a child becomes distressed when covering one of the eyes, compared to the other. If a child cannot perform a simple visual task with one of the eyes compared to the other or protests to the good eye being covered.
Most importantly a child should be attending regular eye tests, to assess that they have normal vision and that both eyes work together. If they do have Amblyopia it would be detected & treated more quickly.
Amblyopia can be caused by:
· A squint (turn in the one of the eyes or alternates between the eyes, also known as strabismus)
· A significant uncorrected prescription in one of the eyes compared to the other
· Undetected or untreated blocking of visual light stimulation to one of the eyes i.e cataract (amblyopia may persist even after treatment)
There are three types of amblyopia, based on the underlying cause:
· Full vision correction with glasses or contact lenses
· Treatment of squint/strabismus if present and vision therapy called orthoptics
· Patching the good eye to get the weaker eye to work and be stimulated – patching time dependent on the severity of amblyopia and age of child
· If the child cannot be patched, eye drops to blur the good eye can be used
The outcome of treatment is dependent on how poor the vision is in the weaker/lazy eye, their age and how well the child takes to patch. The earlier amblyopia is caught (ideally before the age of 8 yrs old), alongside strong treatment adherence; the better the visual outcome.
Older children and adults with amblyopia may benefit from new computer programs that have been developed by doctors & researchers. The programs have been designed to stimulate neural changes, which has led to improved vision and contrast sensitivity in amblyopic patients.
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