Last updated on April 26th, 2017 at 04:56 am
Amblyopia, also referred to as lazy eye, is a vision advancement condition where an eye cannot attain normal visual acuity, even with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Amblyopia begins during infancy and early childhood. In most cases, only one eye is impacted. However in many cases, decreased visual skill can happen in both eyes.
Especially if lazy eye is detected early in life and immediately treated, lowered vision can be avoided. However if left without treatment, lazy eye can cause severe visual impairment in the affected eye, including legal loss of sight.
It’s estimated that about 2 to 3 percent of the United States population has some degree of amblyopia.
Amblyopia Signs And Symptoms
Since amblyopia typically is a problem of baby vision development, symptoms of the condition can be tough to discern.
However, a typical cause of amblyopia is strabismus. So if you observe your baby or child has actually crossed eyes or some other apparent eye misalignment, schedule a visit for a children’s eye examination instantly — preferably with an eye doctor or ophthalmologist who focuses on children’s vision.
Another hint that your child might have amblyopia is if he or she sobs or fusses when you cover one eye.
You can try this easy screening test at home by merely covering and uncovering your child’s eyes (one eye at a time) when she or he is carrying out a visual job, such as watching tv.
If your child is not bothered when one eye is covered, but objects when the other eye is, this may recommend that the eye you have actually covered is the “great” eye, and that the uncovered eye is amblyopic, causing blurred vision.
However a basic screening test is no replacement for a comprehensive eye exam.
Have your child’s eyes examined as suggested to make sure he or she has normal vision in both eyes which the eyes function together effectively as a group.
What Causes Amblyopia?
There are three types of amblyopia, based on the underlying cause:
- Strabismic amblyopia. Strabismus is the most typical reason for amblyopia. To avoid double vision caused by poorly lined up eyes, the brain neglects the visual input from the misaligned eye, resulting in amblyopia because eye (the “lazy eye”). This kind of amblyopia is called strabismic amblyopia.
- Refractive amplyopia. Sometimes, amblyopia is brought on by unequal refractive mistakes in the two eyes, in spite of perfect eye alignment. For instance, one eye might have significant uncorrected nearsightedness or farsightedness, while the other eye does not. Or one eye may have substantial astigmatism and the other eye does not.
In such cases, the brain relies on the eye that has less uncorrected refractive mistake and “tunes out” the blurred vision from the other eye, triggering amblyopia in that eye from disuse. This kind of amblyopia is called refractive amblyopia (or anisometropic amblyopia).
- Deprivation amblyopia. This is lazy eye triggered by something that blocks light from getting in and being focused in a baby’s eye, such as a congenital cataract. Trigger treatment of hereditary cataracts is necessary to enable normal visual development to take place.
In some cases of refractive amblyopia, normal vision can be attained merely by fully remedying the refractive mistakes in both eyes with glasses or contact lenses. Generally, nevertheless, a minimum of some patching of the “excellent” eye is needed to require the brain to pay attention to the visual input from the amblyopic eye and enable normal vision advancement to take place in that eye.
Lazy eye fixing frequently includes strabismus surgery to correct the alignment of the eyes, followed by eye patching and typically some type of vision therapy (likewise called orthoptics) to assist both eyes collaborate equally as a team.
Covering may be required for numerous hours each day or even all day long and might continue for weeks or months.
If you have a great deal of trouble with your child taking the patch off, you may think about a specially created prosthetic contact lens that avoids light from entering the good eye but does not impact your child’s appearance.
Though prosthetic contact lenses are more pricey than a basic eye patch and need a contact lens exam and fitting, they can work wonders in tough cases of amblyopia treatment when compliance with eye patching is bad.
In some children, atropine eye drops have actually been used to treat amblyopia rather of an eye spot. One drop is positioned in your child’s excellent eye each day (your optometrist will instruct you). Atropine blurs vision in the excellent eye, which forces your child to use the eye with amblyopia more, to strengthen it. One benefit of utilizing atropine eye drops is that it does not need your consistent caution to make sure your child wears the patch.
In one big study of 419 children younger than 7 years of age with amblyopia varying from 20/40 to 20/100 prior to treatment, atropine therapy produced comparable result in eye patching (though improvement in visual acuity in the amblyopic eye was slightly greater in the patching group). As an outcome, some previously skeptical eye care specialists are utilizing atropine as their first option for amblyopia treatment over patching.
However, atropine does have side effects that should be thought about: light sensitivity (due to the fact that the eye is constantly dilated), flushing and possible paralysis of the ciliary muscle after long-term atropine use, which might impact the eye’s accommodation, or ability to alter focus.
Aid For Older Children And Adults With Lazy Eye
For many years, specialists believed that if amblyopia treatment was not started very early in life, no improvement in visual acuity was possible. The critical duration for intervention was said to be around age 8.
But it now appears that older children and even adults with long-stranding lazy eye can take advantage of amblyopia treatment using computer programs that stimulate neural modifications causing improvements in visual skill and contrast sensitivity.
One such program — called RevitalVision — has produced enhanced vision in older children with lazy eye and grownups with enduring amblyopia. The treatment normally includes 40 training sessions of 40 minutes each, carried out over a period of a number of weeks.
In one scientific study of 44 amblyopic children and grownups varying in age from 9 to 54 years, 70.5 percent of the participants had a visual acuity improvement of 2 or more lines on a standardized eye chart after a complete program of RevitalVision training sessions.
Presently, RevitalVision is the only FDA-approved computerized treatment for amblyopia. The program is authorized for people age 9 and older with best fixed vision of 20/100 or better and little or no strabismus.
Other computer system programs to treat lazy eye likewise are offered and in use by optometrist who concentrate on children’s vision and vision therapy
See also: Eye Exercises to Improve Vision.
Early Detection And Treatment Are Important
Though modern-day amblyopia treatments might enhance vision in older children and grownups, the majority of professionals concur that early detection and treatment of lazy eye is preferred for normal visual development and the best visual outcomes from amblyopia treatment.
The American Optometric Association advises that children have their first eye exam at 6 months of age, another exam at age 3 and a third test prior to going into school to ensure vision is developing normally in both eyes and there is no risk of amblyopia.
Amblyopia will not disappear by itself, and untreated lazy eye can result in permanent visual problems. If later in life your child’s stronger eye establishes disease or is injured, she or he will depend upon the poor vision of the amblyopic eye, so it is best to treat amblyopia early on.
In many cases, uncorrected refractive errors and amblyopia in young children can result in behaviors that seem to suggest developmental or other conditions when the problem is purely visual.