What is Amblyopia, or “Lazy Eye” Disease
Posted: Apr 09, 2017
Lazy eye is a condition, mostly prevalent in young children, where one of the eyes has not developed properly (it’s possible but very rare that both eyes would be affected). The term ‘lazy eye’ refers to one eye looking left or right, rather than working together with the stronger eye, but it’s a misnomer. To begin with, not every one with amblyopia will have visible symptoms; that is, you can’t rely on appearances for a diagnosis. In addition, the eye isn’t lazy at all. Instead, the images being registered by the affected eye are being disregarded by the brain.
What causes amblyopia?
To put it very simply, each of our eyes has a cornea, which is the transparent part that forms the front of the eye. Among its other functions, the cornea sends light to the back of the eye, or the retina, which is part of our central nervous system and sends the images up to the brain. In order to refract light properly, the cornea must be a certain shape – a perfectly curved lens. If it’s not shaped correctly, the retina cannot form a focused image – this is why many of us have near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism in one eye. Other causes can include strabismus, which is when the eyes point in two different directions, or cataract, which is a cloudy film on the lens of the eye.
Normally, the brain will merge the images sent by the two eyes. (Think of using binoculars, for example; both lenses have to be adjusted together to form a clear image.) With amblyopia, however, eventually the brain will stop trying to form a focused image from the two eyes and start to favour the stronger eye. This leaves the other eye free from performing any useful function so it appears "lazy", as it’s not working with the other eye.
Symptoms and treatment
Amblyopia isn’t always characterised by a "lazy-looking" eye, or at least not early on. Other signs can be more difficult to spot, but not if you know what to look for. If you do notice any of the following symptoms in your child, book an appointment with your eye doctor or paediatrician: general vision problems, tilting the head or closing one eye when trying to see something clearly, headache, or poor depth perception (the ability to spatially locate objects, such as how near or far away something is). Most physicians will do an eye check at an infant’s well-baby exam, and again when the child is pre-school age, but if you notice something seems off at other times, do consult a doctor who can help determine whether your child might have amblyopia.
The good news is, if diagnosed early enough, amblyopia can be addressed easily and non-invasively with an eye patch. Worn for a few hours at a time on a regular basis, the eye patch covers the "good" eye to begin to strengthen the "lazy" one. There are other options as well, such as eye drops, but the most important thing to remember is that the sooner amblyopia is diagnosed, the better the chances of restoring normal sight as your child’s vision continues to develop.
Before you get Amblyopia issues in your eyes, visit a nearest eye centre and have an Eye test Dubai.
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