Lazy Eye or “Amblyopia”
Sight. One of the essential senses in a human being. For vision to occur, the eyes and brain must work together: the retina sends nerve signals from the back of the eye to the optic nerve, then carries the signal to the brain, where they become interpreted as the things we see.
“Amblyopia“, is the condition responsible for causing poor vision, usually in one eye only. Lazy eye develops when a person’s brain favors one eye, often because of the other having poor vision. Because of this, one’s brain might eventually ignore signals from the weaker eye, resulting in vision impairment and reduced depth perception.
The term “lazy” stems from the weaker eye wandering at times, facing separate directions than the other. The targeted area won’t always look different, and though the condition typically affects only one eye, vision in both may be impaired.
Lazy eye occurs primarily in children. 3 out of 100 infants will suffer from lazy eye, and according to the Mayo Clinic, it is the leading cause of decreased vision within the age group.
Amblyopia relates to developmental issues in a person’s brain. Unusual visual experience early in life alters the nerve pathways between the retina and the brain. The weaker the eye gets, the fewer signals it receives until ultimately ceasing to work. By this point, the brain ignores the existence of the weak eye altogether. Common causes include:
Muscle imbalance: The most common cause of lazy eye is an irregularity in the muscles responsible for positioning the eyes. This unevenness can cause the eyes to cross in or out, making it challenging for them to work together.
Deprivation: Problems with one eye — such as cataracts — can obstruct clear vision in that eye. Deprivation amblyopia in childhood requires urgent treatment to prevent permanent vision loss, as it is the most severe type of Amblyopia.
A difference in vision between the eyes: A notable difference between the prescriptions in each eye can result in lazy eye.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of this condition can be hard to detect until it becomes severe. All children ages 3 to 5 should have an eye exam performed to rule Amblyopia out. Things to look out for:
Poor depth perception
Bumping into objects on one side
An eye that wanders outward or inward
It may be necessary to perform an eye exam to detect this condition.
How To Fix Lazy Eye
The big question here is whether you can fix lazy eye. The short answer is yes. Lazy eye treatment is most effective on children ages seven and younger due to the common development of the condition in the early stages of life. The younger a person is, the more successful the treatment will be. However, frequently, adults achieve better vision with treatment.
It is essential to talk to a doctor before beginning any treatments for Amblyopia and follow their instructions. In some cases, fixing lazy eye might require surgery. Below are some popular ways of treating lazy eye:
Eyeglasses or contact lenses: One of the most common causes for Amblyopia is the differing vision in each eye. A person may have hyperopia (farsightedness) in one eye and myopia (nearsightedness) in the other. This discrepancy causes vision sharpness between each eye. Getting corrective glasses or contact lenses can often solve lazy eye.
Eye drops: Medicated eye drops blur vision in the stronger eye, forcing the weaker one to work harder.
- Eye patches: People should wear eye patches on the stronger eye to encourage vision in the weaker one. A doctor will recommend how many daily hours to wear it, varying from 2-6 hours.