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Amblyopia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Oct 05, 2023

Amblyopia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is an impaired vision in one eye brought on by early abnormal visual development. The lazy or weaker eye frequently travels inside or outward.

From birth to the age of seven, amblyopia often develops. It is the main factor causing children's visual loss. A lazy eye rarely affects both eyes.

Long-term vision problems for your child can be avoided with early detection and treatment. Typically, patching therapy, glasses, or contact lenses can correct the vision of the eye with the worst vision.

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Causes Of Amblyopia

Early abnormal visual experiences that alter the nerve connections between the brain and the retina, a small layer of tissue at the back of the eye, lead to the development of a lazy eye. Less visual information is transmitted to the weaker eye. The brain eventually suppresses or rejects signals from the weaker eye as the capacity of the eyes to function together decreases.

A lazy eye can be brought on by anything that affects a child's vision or causes their eyes to cross or turn out. The following list of common causes is given as follows:

  • Muscle imbalance (strabismus, amblyopia): A lazy eye is most frequently caused by an imbalance in the muscles that position the eyes. The eyes can cross or turn out as a result of this imbalance, which inhibits them from cooperating.
  • Refractive amblyopia is a difference in vision acuity between the eyes. A lazy eye can be caused by a significant difference in each eye's prescription, which is typically caused by farsightedness but can also be caused by nearsightedness or an uneven surface curve of the eye (astigmatism).
  • These refractive issues are often resolved with glasses or contact lenses. Some children's lazy eye is brought on by a combination of refractive problems and strabismus.
  • Deprivation: A problem with one eye, such as a cataract, can prevent that eye from having clear vision. For newborns with deprivation amblyopia, early intervention is crucial to prevent long-term vision loss. It is frequently the most serious type of amblyopia.

Symptoms Of Amblyopia

The following symptoms and indicators are indicative of lazy eye:

  • An inward- or outward-moving eye
  • Lack of coordination between the eyes
  • Poor depth perception
  • Shutting or squinting the eye
  • Tilting head
  • Screening test findings are abnormal
  • Without an eye exam, lazy eyes can sometimes go undetected.

Risk Factors Of Amblyopia

Lazy eye risk factors include the following:

  • Premature birth
  • Small size at birth
  • Family history of lazy eyes
  • Developmental disabilities

Diagnosis Of Amblyopia

Your doctor will perform an eye exam, looking for any issues with your eyes' health, such as a wandering eye, visual differences between your eyes, or impaired vision in both of them. Eye Drops are typically used to widen the pupils. Vision blurring from the eyedrops may linger all day or for several hours.

Depending on your child's age and developmental stage, a vision test may be administered:

  • Preverbal kids: Cataracts can be found with the aid of a lit magnifying equipment. Other examinations can measure a child's or toddler's capacity for maintaining focus and tracing a moving object.
  • 3 years old and older kids: The child's vision can be tested using pictures or letters. To test the other eye, each eye is covered in turn.

Treatment Of Amblyopia

In early childhood, when the complex connections between the eye and the brain are developing, it is crucial to begin treatment for lazy eye. Although 50% of children between the ages of 7 and 17 respond to treatment, the best benefits come from beginning treatment before age 7.

The reason for a lazy eye and the severity to which it impairs your child's vision will determine the best course of action. Your medical professional may advise:

  • Correctional eyewear: Lazy eye conditions can be treated with glasses or contact lenses if they are caused by nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
  • Eye patches: Your child places an eye patch over the eye with better vision for two to six or more hours a day in order to stimulate the weaker eye. Rarely, prolonged usage of an eye patch might lead to the development of amblyopia in the affected eye. However, it is frequently reversible.
  • Bangerter filter: The stronger eye's eyeglass lens is covered with this unique filter. Similar to an eye patch, the filter stimulates the weaker eye while blurring the stronger eye.
  • Eyedrops: The stronger eye's vision can be momentarily affected by an eyedrop of the drug atropine (Isopto Atropine). Use of the drops, which are typically prescribed for daily or weekend use, encourages your child to use the weaker eye and provides an alternative to a patch. Light sensitivity and eye inflammation are some of the side effects.
  • Surgery: If your child has cataracts or droopy eyelids that lead to severe amblyopia, surgery may be necessary. In addition to conventional treatments for lazy eyes, your doctor may advise surgical correction to straighten the eyes if your child's eyes still cross or drift apart when wearing the proper glasses.

There are activity-based therapies available, including those that include drawing, solving puzzles, or playing video games. The effectiveness of integrating these activities in additional therapy is not supported by any data. Investigations for new therapies are ongoing.

Within a few weeks to months of receiving the proper treatment, the majority of young people with sluggish eyes see better. The duration of treatment might range from six months to two years.

The recurrence of lazy eye, which can occur in up to 25% of children with the syndrome, should be closely watched in your child. If the lazy eye returns, the treatment must be repeated.

Complications Of Amblyopia

If left untreated, a lazy eye might cause irreversible vision loss.

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