Your children are prone to health conditions. Lazy eye, for example, has been common among kids out there. In the US alone, amblyopia affects 2 percent of every child, which is the primary cause of partial or total blindness of one eye.
What is it? What are its causes and symptoms? What are the risk factors? What are the best treatments? In this article, you will know everything about them. Read on for more details!
Lazy Eye: What is it?
Amblyopia is a condition that reduces vision in one eye due to abnormal visual development. The weaker eye usually wanders outward or inward.
Generally speaking, amblyopia develops from birth up to 7 years. Among the factors that affect children’s vision, amblyopia is the leading cause. But it doesn’t always affect both eyes.
Early diagnosis and proper treatment can prevent long-term problems. The eye with poorer vision can be corrected nowadays. Thanks to the development of technology as we can now use glasses and even contact lenses.
Apart from the eye that wanders inward or outward, signs of amblyopia include a poor depth perception, squinting, head tilting, and abnormal results of vision screening exams.
Due to the abnormality in visual experience, amblyopia develops and changes the nerve pathways between the tissue at the back of the brain and the eye. If not treated properly, the weaker one receives a few visual signals. Then, its ability to work with the other declines. Also, the brain suppresses input from amblyopia
Types of amblyopia
- Strabismic Amblyopia
The most common cause of amblyopia is strabismus. It is a condition in which the brain ignores the input from the misaligned eye.
- Refractive Amblyopia
Unequal refractive errors can also cause amblyopia despite the perfect alignment. An eye, for example, may have nearsightedness or farsightedness. The other one, on the other hand, is different, during which the brain will rely on the other eye having the less uncorrected refractive error.
- Deprivation Amblyopia
Another lazy eye is the deprivation amblyopia. Unlike the other types, deprivation amblyopia is caused by anything that blocks the entrance of light.
Prompt treatment can play a critical role. Aside from medication, a surgery is imperative to prevent a visual disability.
Amblyopia is common to children. But what are the factors that trigger such a condition? Premature birth can be a culprit. Small size during birth is another example. Other risk factors include developmental disabilities and family history.
If untreated, amblyopia can lead to blindness, especially in the affected area. The vision loss is permanent. Lazy eye is also one of the causes of a single vision impairment in children and other adults in the US alone.
Other complications are eye turn and strabismus, which can be long-term.
Central vision is another big problem. The risk is higher when it is not treated in the early stage. As a result, the patient’s central vision may not develop properly. That’s not all! It could even affect a person’s ability to do other tasks.
The Best Treatment for a Lazy Eye
Who says children with refractive amblyopia cannot have a normal vision? Studies show that contact lenses and glasses can correct the refractive errors in both eyes.
However, some patching of the good eye is crucial to stimulate the brain to take note of the input from the one with amblyopia. That way, normal vision development in the affected area is possible.
How about the Strabismic amblyopia? How is it treated? Well, it involves a surgery and other related procedures to achieve proper and long-term alignment. After that, what’s next? It is followed by a patch on the healthy eye. Then, physicians prescribe a vision therapy to guarantee immediate and lasting results.
It is imperative to use an eye patch for hours every day. With proper use, the brain would recognize the visual input from the amblyopia.
But children usually take off the patch. What’s the best alternative to weighing in mind? There are well-designed contact lenses you cannot afford to miss. While they prevent light from entering the good one, the right contacts don’t affect your children’s appearance.
When searching for a cost-effective solution, don’t look further than a simple eye patch. While it can be effective to some patients, it’s not as superb as contact lenses. With the high demand from the public, contacts can cost an arm or a leg. From a variety of tests to non-stop fitting, lenses can be a headache to other people.
Although it requires an extra budget, a contact lens can correct Strabismic amblyopia and other related visual conditions.
In children, doctors prescribe atropine eye drops. Recent studies indicate that the treatment can correct amblyopia. Physicians typically recommend a single drop in a patient’s good eye every day. Also, there are other instructions to follow.
After a minute or two, atropine blurs the vision in the healthy eye. Then, it forces a patient to use the other one with amblyopia without wearing a patch.
Compared to some traditional solutions, atropine therapy produced comparable results according to a study. With that, ophthalmologists, optometrists, and other practitioners feel skeptical about recommending some eye patching. They encourage patients to use atropine instead.
It’s also good to note that atropine has some side effects. These include extreme light sensitivity and difficulty seeing near objects.
In most cases, doctors recommend a surgery for patients with Strabismic amblyopia to align their eyes. When looking for a non-invasive and pain-free procedure, atropine and simple exercises are effective.
To achieve proper eye alignment and other immediate results, doctors recommend one or two strabismus surgeries. After the procedure, practitioners encourage patients to use special eyeglasses with the right prism lenses.
So, what’s the best treatment for amblyopia? It’s critical to get early detection and proper diagnosis. Don’t forget to schedule an eye exam and consider a specialist with the right experience. With enough research, you can find an expert that best matches your needs and requirements.