Amblyopia is a condition in which the brain starts ignoring the vision of one eye and fails to comprehend things adequately.
You must be wondering why the brain supports one eye and allows the other to get weaker with age. And if it troubles children? Quick answer! It does affect the children and that too sometimes during their infancy.
So, what exactly is this condition? Is amblyopia a disability? Do children need surgery to rectify this disorder?
To find the answers to the above questions, you need to know about the symptoms, causes, and therapies that help the disabled live a better life.
Let us begin with deciphering amblyopia’s medical definition.
What Does Amblyopia Mean?
Usually, the infant’s eyes and brain make vital connections to see and recognize things till eight years of age. But in the case of an amblyopia eye, one eye stops these associations from formulating up. Due to this, the brain becomes incapable of understanding the images observed by one eye.
Also, in rare instances, the brain begins to bypass the images perceived by the healthy eye. As a result, both eyes become ineffective. And thus, the situation of acuity or blindness arises.
Types of Amblyopia
There are five types of amblyopia, which a child exhibits on the destruction of vision in one or both eyes. These are:
- Refractive Amblyopia or Anisometropic Amblyopia
- Combined Strabismic and Anisometropic
Out of the above amblyopia types, the three most common are:
This impairment emerges when one or both eyes suffer from nearsightedness or farsightedness. The other conditions that cause this condition are astigmatism, hyperopia, and myopia.
The impairment of amblyopia refractive remains unidentified until the child has a vision exam. To correct this, the child needs to wear corrective glasses or contact lenses.
Strabismic amblyopia occurs due to misalignment of the eyes. That ordinarily happens when both eyes fail to run efficiently with the brain. Due to that, the brain depends on the visions developed by the dominant eye.
The treatment method includes eye exercises to regain the strength of weak eye muscles. Another treatment includes wearing an eye patch to help the use of the feeble eye.
The least observed kind of amblyopia is deprivation amblyopia. It occurs due to the lack of vision as a result of the presence of congenital cataracts.
This condition can lead to amblyopia ex anopsia (permanent vision loss) if not correctly treated. The treatment of deprivation amblyopia includes surgery for removing a cataract.
What Causes Amblyopia of Eye?
The common causes of amblyopia/lazy eye are typical vision problems, which include the following:
- Refractive Errors– These situations influence how light passes through the eyes. They include:
- Eye prescription which suggests wrong eyeglasses or contacts.
- Myopia or nearsightedness, a difficulty to see far away.
- Hyperopia or farsightedness, a problem to see close.
- Astigmatism or Curved Cornea
- Strabismus or Crossed Eyes
- Structural Problems- Sometimes, the eyes have structural problems that can lead to amblyopia in both eyes. These are:
1. Cataracts, a difficulty that causes blurry vision.
3. Scars on the cornea
Other specific risk factors include Genetics. So if you are thinking, is amblyopia genetic? Then, definitely yes. The family history of any member can lead to the accumulation of this disorder. The other reasons are developmental disabilities and premature birth.
What Are Symptoms Of Amblyopia?
Amblyopia usually goes unnoticed till a child has a visual exam. But, in some infants, the following amblyopia symptoms can be seen:
- They often bang into objects on a specific side a lot.
- Suffer from Myopia or Hyperopia in the two eyes.
- Support one side of the body.
- Squint or shut one eye plenty of times.
- Repeatedly tilt head to one side to see things.
How To Diagnose Amblyopia In Children?
As per the American Optometric Association (AOC), every child should go through a comprehensive vision screening by the completion of six months of age and again at the age of three years.
The diagnosis procedure which an ophthalmologist follows before conducting the treatment of amblyopia in child includes the following steps:
- First, an optometrist puts eye drops in the eye to make the pupil bigger.
- Then, flicker light in both eyes.
- It also includes covering one eye at a time and tests whether both eyes follow a moving item.
- May also ask toddlers to read words or letters from a chart.
- Can use a lighted magnifying tool to determine if both eyes see equally well.
- The magnifying tool is also extremely useful in knowing the alignment of eyes, cataracts detection, and the condition of amblyopia bilateral.
Does Amblyopia Get Worse With Age?
This visual impairment usually begins from childhood. And can follow to adulthood with worsening signs when not adequately managed. One of the essential worsening symptoms is permanent vision impairment in adulthood.
With age progression, the amblyopic eye will begin to lose vitality and perception abilities. Also, the brain begins to ignore the amblyopic eye and guard the authoritative one. So, there is a need to take preventive steps as soon as you detect the disorder.
What Does Amblyopia Treatment For A Child Constitute?
Different techniques that direct in making the brain use the weaker eye include the following:
- Intake of Atropine Or Eye Drops
For minor cases, ophthalmologists suggest you take eye drops or atropine to correct temporary blurry vision.
- Amblyopia Eye Patch
It involves wearing the patch over the eye for some hours a day. This treatment can last for several months or years.
By wearing a patch, the brain tries to consume the images from the weak eye, thus making it strong. Two kinds of patching for amblyopia are available. One is like a band-aid that you can place over the eye. And the other, created for kids which they wear on the lens of eyeglasses.
- Wear Eyeglasses
The subsequent treatment for amblyopia includes the wearing of eyeglasses. Eyeglasses enable the eyes to send precise images to the brain and teach it to use the eyes together.
These glasses are beneficial in correcting crossed eyes, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.
- Bangerter Filter
A filter gets placed on the lens of the strong eye to blur the views of the dominant right eye. This filter encourages the amblyopia left eye to develop visions.
- Eye Exercises
Amblyopia vision therapy for children includes the subsequent exercises:
- Make your child do coloring in lines.
- Make your child hold a pencil near the nose. Then move it away and bring it close. Focus on how it changes positions.
- Make your child solve puzzles and do reading activities while carrying an eye patch on the powerful eye.
Can Amblyopia Be Corrected In Adults?
For many years, people considered that amblyopia was curable till adolescent age. However, this is not the issue.
Amblyopia in adults happens when the visual tracks get suppressed due to the plasticity in the brain.
Furthermore, amblyopia can occur in adults when binocular vision forms two visions on the eyes that are unchanged into one solo image.
However, to retrain the optical system and revive the vision of adults, vision therapy is often suggested.
What Is Amblyopia Vision Therapy?
The vision therapy programs work admirably in the case of amblyopia treatment for adults. These remedies encourage the two eyes to work hand-in-hand to obtain definite binocular visibility and depth perception. The visual building up therapies involves the following exercises:
- Accommodation or focusing practice
- Fixation or visual gaze
- Pursuits or eye-tracking
- Saccades include switching eye focus or eye jumps.
- Spatial skills aim in channelizing eye-hand coordination.
- Stereopsis or 3-D vision
Outlook For Better Vision
As you know, amblyopia does not set off on its own. The timely analysis and medication of amblyopia can considerably raise the sight of kids and adults.
Besides, this can shield you against perpetual vision impairment and a wonky eye that continually gazes in different directions.
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