Amblyopia is a condition where vision is reduced in one or both eyes as a result of abnormal growth of eyesight in youth or infancy. Vision loss happens because nerve pathways involving the eye and the brain are not correctly developed. Consequently, the brain favors one eye, generally due to poor eyesight in another eye however, the eyes may appear perfectly normal. Another word for amblyopia is commonly used “lazy eye.” According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), it’s the top source of vision loss amongst youngsters.
Strabismic amblyopia is when the eyes are non-symetrical. When this occurs, the brain starts to turns off the eye which is not straight. Over time the eyesight later drops for the offset eye.
Deprivation amblyopia grows when cataracts or similar conditions deprive young children’s eyes of visual expertise. If not treated quite early, these child can have very poor eyesight and never learn how to see well. Occasionally both eyes can be effected but, treatment is relatively simple. Child with cataracts or other physical issus are often treated surgicaly and quickly so that you can minimize the development of amblyopia.
Refractive amblyopia occurs when there’s a big or unusual quantity of refractive error (lens strength) between the eyes. The brain learns the best way to see with one eye that doesn’t need lens correction and doesn’t learn to see with the other eye. The eyesight deficiency could not be visible as the children often will not complain about blurry vision. Also, the amblyopic eye might not seem any different then the healty eye. Thus, pediatricians and parents might not believe there’s an issue because the eyes appear normal. Therefore, this type of amblyopia in children might not be discovered without a vision test. Early detection allows for a quick treatment of this condition.
Eyeglasses with amblyopia
Corrective glasses may enhance visual acuity to some level but generally wearing glasses will not correct the amblyopic eye completely. However in time, brain may relearn the best way to see and invlolve the amplyopic eye and may improve eyesight.
Bilateral amblyopia is generally treated with eyeglasses and/or contact lenses and physisian follow up over an extended period of time. If asymmetric amblyopia (one eye much better then the other) happens, then patching or eye drops could be added.
Amblyopia treatment started in younger adolescents (through age 14 years) will provide best results. Some types of amblyopia, especially Strabismic may be first discovered by parents. Other types of amblyopia might unobvious to parents and can only be discovered with an eye exam..
Eyesight Screening is strongly advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for young children to find amblyopia early enough to proceed with successful treatment. Babies are assessed by their ability follow and to focus. Toddlers can have their pupillary reddish reflexes examined using an ophthalmoscope (Bruckner Evaluation) or by devices that identify a significant refractive error that requires correction to avoid amblyopia.
Patching treatment for amblyopia
Patching should just be performed if it is recommended by an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist should routinely assess how the child’s eyesight is changing. Patching generally works if started early enough and in the event the parents and child follow the patching directions carefully. It is necessary to patch the better seeing eye allowing the eye with poor eyesight to get more powerful.
The classic patch is an adhesive Band Aid which can be used right to skin around the eye. They’re for sale in various sizes for different ages. For kids wearing eyeglasses, both material and semitransparent decals (Bangerter foils) may be put over or onto the eyeglasses. “Pirate” patches on elastic bands are especially popular.
Penalizing eye drops
Occasionally the more powerful, good eye can be penalized to help the poorer eye get more powerful. This induces the brain to compensate and to utilize the weaker eye. Ophthalmologists use this treatment as opposed to patching when a kid is not able to wear the eyepatch as perscribed by the doctor. Your pediatric ophthalmologist will allow you to choose what treatment regimen is better for your son or daughter. Not all kids reap the benefits of eye drop treatment for amblyopia. Penalizing eye drops, such as atropine, tend not to work as well as simple patching when the more powerful eye is nearsighted.
Surgical correction of amblyopia
There isn’t a surgery to enhance the eyesight for amblyopia. Surgery may be done to straighten a misaligned eyes. Kids with strabismic amblyopia need close observation and treatment before strabismus surgery is even considered. After operation, the child will still most likely need vision correction with contact lenses or eyeglasses including patching.
Please see our treatment section for amblyopia maintenance, treatments and vision therapy here.
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