Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

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What causes an eye to become “lazy”?

Normally we have two eyes that are meant to see the world equally.

When one or both eyes have decreased sharpness of vision that is not correctable by spectacles and in the absence of other diseases, this is known as amblyopia, or lazy eye.

The amblyopic eye will see images as blurry. As a result, the brain ignores (suppresses) images sent by this eye and favours images sent by the unaffected eye. Since the ignored eye is not fully participating in the seeing process, it is called “lazy.”

Amblyopia is a vision development disorder that is sometimes combined with strabismus, or misalignment of the eye.

When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives two images—one from the straight eye and one from the turned eye. This causes double vision. The brain gets confused and will choose to ignore images from the affected eye, which may cause amblyopia.

Other causes of amblyopia:

  • Severe farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism
  • Having different vision strengths in each eye
  • Genetics (yes, a family history of amblyopia may cause your child to develop one)
  • Developmental delays, drooping eyelid, cataracts

Signs and Symptoms Your Child May Have Amblyopia Include...

  • Decreased vision in one or both eyes not corrected by spectacles
  • Eye that turns inwards or outwards
  • Turning or tilting the head to use one eye only
  • Eyes don’t appear to work together
  • Strabismus (misaligned eyes)
  • Poor depth perception
  • Closing or covering one eye

Why Should Parents Be Concerned?

Most kids with amblyopia won’t complain of vision problems as they become used to having good vision in one eye and poor vision in the other. Not all kids with amblyopia will have  wandering eyes, so parents or teachers may be unaware something is wrong.

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Because amblyopia is typically a problem of vision development in infants, symptoms of the condition can be difficult to discern in babies who are nonverbal. This is why many cases of infant amblyopia remained undiagnosed until the child had a comprehensive eye test.

Amblyopia is the leading cause of preventable vision loss in children. How so? As the brain suppresses vision from the amblyopic eye, that eye becomes weaker. If no intervention is given, this may lead to permanent vision loss in that eye.

Children with amblyopia struggle to make their eyes work together as a team. Amblyopia affects depth perception (or the ability to discern how far or near an object is) and how a child sees in 3D. This greatly affects how they move in space and other things like playing sport or pouring water in a glass.

How Can We Help?

Comprehensive Eye Test

We’ll tailor your child’s eye test based on their age and other factors. Our comprehensive eye test will help detect if your child has amblyopia even while they’re still noncommunicative infants or as kids who don’t complain of vision problems.

The Best Treatment Options

We offer safe, effective and nonsurgical methods that have helped many of our patients improve their visual skills symptoms; these include patching, low-dose atropine and vision therapy. If there’s a need, we may refer your child for surgery.

Training the Brain to “See” Better

We’ll help your child train their brain to process visual information efficiently—that is to stop suppressing their amblyopic eye and begin to accept visual input from it in order for that eye to regain visual function.

Your Child’s Best Possible Vision

Our goal for your child is that they’ll be able to control their eyes with increased efficiency and agility, increase their self-confidence and improve their academic performance as well as quality of life by giving them the best possible vision.

Do you suspect amblyopia in your child? Book a Comprehensive Eye Test Today.

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