What is Amblyopia or Lazy Eye Problem in Children?
“Lazy eye”, lexical meaning Amblyopia, is reduced vision that is uncorrectable with lenses. Abnormal physical development causes amblyopia during early childhood.
Though there is no anatomical defect, amblyopia has many causes. Misalignment of child’s eyes or Strabismus and image quality difference between two eyes or Anisometropia causes Amblyopia. One eye becomes stronger by suppressing the image of the other eye. The worst part is that if it is not treated in early childhood weaker eye become permanently blind. But Amblyopia can be treated and loss of vision can be prevented by proper care and treatment.
What are the symptoms of Amblyopia?
The most common symptoms that are associated with Amblyopia are:
- Eye turn up or out or in
- Closing one eye in sunlight
- Head tilting
- Headaches or eyestrain
What are the causes of Amblyopia?
When one of the eyes turned as in squint, the brain gets two different pictures and that condition is called Amblyopia in medical terms. But when it is happening with a young child the brain only takes the image of the better eye and learn to ignore the image of the deviated eye. This is how amblyopia develops to its utmost.
This again happens with refractive power too when your brain will always ignore the blood image of one eye and grab the image of the one which is better. If not treated early, a moderate or high degree of refractive power can be shown which results in Amblyopia.
Adequate light and visual stimulus are needed for the retina to register an object. But an infant cataract doesn’t possess these factors which cause Amblyopia.
There are a few following reasons for which a young child might have to go through Amblyopia:
- Squint/strabismus (when both the eyes aren’t straight)
- Congenital cataract (when lens become cloudy)
- If Near-sightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia) aren’t corrected early.
- If high myopia or hyperopia aren’t treated in time
- Severe ptosis is droopy eyelids
Types of Amblyopia
It is something that interferes with a clear vision in one eye during childhood.
This condition, both of the eyes don’t see the same thing as they are not aligned. As a result, the brain grabs image it is not deviated to avoid double vision
Here the eyes hold different refractive powers. Two different cases can happen possibly here. That is near-sightedness or farsightedness or strongly astigmatic. In such cases become lazy to favour the image of the strong eye and ignore the other.
What are the risk factors involved in Amblyopia?
Children, whose age group is under ninth, as their vision is still developing has the risk of Amblyopia. The more the child is young, the chances of safe and successful treatment are higher. A child crossed nine years have less chance of achieving normal vision with treatment.
What can you do to reduce the risks?
One should go for daily diagnosis and treatments for Amblyopia because of the speedy recovery. This happens for many reasons like strabismus, near-sightedness/myopia or farsightedness or hyperopia.
What is the treatment?
Amblyopia can fully be treated. But the chances are less when you don’t treat early. Chances are too high when the child is too young so the doctors need the cooperation of the patient and his or her parents. If they take it unattentively, the problem of reduced vision become permanent and not going to be improved by any means.
An encouragement to the child to use the amblyopic eye can be an effective way of treatment. To ensure normal and equal vision, the patient needs to cover or patch the good eye to force the use of the amblyopic eye. They are possible through:
- Glasses : Doctors prescribe glasses when it is caused by severe refractive errors or Anisometropia. In this case, one eye is clearer than the other. With the help of the glass, the brain gets clear and focused images which teach the brain to switch on to the weaker eye. That is how the brain is allowed to grab the same vision from both of the eyes and develop normal vision.
- Eye patches : Depending on the condition the doctors often suggest eye patches over the stronger or unaffected eye. They are worn for two to six hours a day when the kid is awakened for several months or years.
It has become challenging for many children but they have adapted it as time passes. Parents are suggested to bring them with some playthings so that they forget that for a while.
- Atropine drops : Atropine Drops are suggested when a kid refuses to use eye patches. Atropine drops are used to blur the vision of the unaffected or straight eye so that the brain forces the weaker eye to recognise the images seen by itself.
- Surgery : where strabismus is the reason for Amblyopia and the glass, patch or drop treatment doesn’t improve the alignment of the eyes, surgeries are suggested. Droopy eyelids or cataracts always need surgery. This surgery is are not time taking. Loosening or tightening of the eyes become a part of this surgery.