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To add on to your knowledge, find out what is lazy eye and also learn about how to treat it.
Melissa Joan Hart
What exactly is lazy eye?
Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is when there is a vision development disorder, in which an eye fails to achieve normal visual acuity even with prescription glasses or contact lenses. It usually occurs in one eye but in some cases, it can manifest in both eyes.
Ideally, Amblyopia should be detected early in life and promptly treated so reduced vision can be avoided. It does not go away on its own and iIf left untreated, can lead to vision impairment, included blindness.
What causes lazy eye?
- The most commonly known cause for Amblyopia is Strabimus, where one eye looks at the object you’re viewing and the other is misaligned, either inward (Esotropia), outward (Exotropia), upward (Hypertropia) or downward (Hypotropia).
- Due to a lack of stimulus, children who have congenital cataract in their early years.
- Children who have a large difference in refractive error between both eyes.
- Family history of Amblyopia.
Children with Amblyopia would not usually complain of poor vision, because they wouldn’t really know, until it is picked up at an eye check-up or screenings in school. Hence, it is important for parents to bring the child for routine eye check-up.
How do you tell if your child has Lazy Eye?
Besides noticing if your child has crossed eyes or some other apparent eye misalignment, another clue is if he or she fusses when you cover one eye.
You can try this simple screening test at home by simply covering your child’s eyes (one at a time) when he or she is performing a visual task, such as watching TV.
If your child is not bothered when one eye is covered, try the other eye. If your child tilts his or her head or pushes your hand away when you cover the other, this may suggest that the first eye you covered is the “good” eye and the other is “lazy” or amblyopic, causing blurred vision.
How to treat Lazy Eye?
In some cases of children having refractive error, normal vision can be achieved simply by wearing prescription glasses. Usually, however, the child would also need to undergo patching (occlusion therapy) to force the brain to pay attention to the visual input from the amblyopic eye, enabling normal vision development for that eye.
In some children, atropine eye drops have been used to treat amblyopia. It helps by blurring vision in the good eye to force your child to use the weaker eye more, to strengthen it. One advantage of using atropine eye drops is that it doesn’t require your constant vigilance to make sure your child wears the eye patch.
It is important to detect amblyopia and treat it early. If it is detected after the age of 8, it might not be possible to reverse the damage, leading to perpetual poor vision and a loss of depth perception.
For Strabismic Amblyopia, strabismus surgery is needed to straighten the eyes, followed by patching and often, some sort of vision therapy to help both eyes work together as a team.