Amblyopia is the medical term for lazy eye! It usually happens to children before the age of six, which is the most common cause of vision problems with children. It may seem like something simple, but if you leave a lazy eye untreated, your child may go blind in this eye!
Causes of lazy eye
An eye weaker than the other:
Lazy eye happens when there is an eye stronger than another, and of better focus (the other one may be astigmatic or farsighted for example). The brain normally receives two images from both eyes, overlay them on top of each other for 3D vision.
If one eye sends a blurry image and the other sends a clear one, by time it will learn to receive only the clear image and ignore the blurry one.
If left untreated, the blurry eye gets worse and finally, the brain will consider this eye permanently blind!
Eyes are not aligned:
Sometimes the problem is not in the blurry image of one eye, but rather that both eyes are not aligned together this is called “strabismus”.
we have talked about “strabismus” in details, please check the article here.
Maybe the eye is lazy because its vision is blocked because of a cataract or any corneal diseases.
Diagnosis of lazy eye
As we mentioned in several articles before, Magrabi always advises taking your child to visit the ophthalmologist regularly. Immediately after birth, at six months, one year and at three years of age. This makes the diagnosis and treatment of any eye disease easier!
Even the parents didn’t notice any problem in their child’s eyes, the doctor can!
By following a thorough eye examination they can exclude or diagnose any serious eye disease and treat it as soon as possible and with the least complications.
The concept behind treating amblyopia is forcing the brain to use the weak eye. If there is any problem in the weak eye we treat the underlying cause. (Example: surgery for cataract or eyeglasses for astigmatism ). Then the doctor will give the child an eye patch to cover the strong eye, even if the child suffers at first from blurry vision. By time and continuous use of the patch, the child’s sight will get better.
Regular checkup is mandatory to make sure that the treatment plan is working as scheduled. After regaining good sight in the weak eye, the child may take off the patch and use it only on interval basis.
If the patch is not the best cosmetic solution for your child, then in some cases the doctor may prescribe atropine drops for the strong eye.
Prognosis of lazy eye
If the case is diagnoses early and treated properly, the child will regain sharp vision within a year. But delaying the treatment to after the age of 7 years old may cause the lazy eye to go blind forever!
Regular checkups for your child’s eye is not a luxury, it is a must! Many eye problems could only be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist who can save your child’s vision!