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Amblyopia

Amblyopia is commonly known as lazy eye. This should not be confused with squints. Amblyopia is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood.

After the age of four years, the development of the part of the brain that processes vision is almost complete. If the brain has not received clear images from the weak eye, it would be difficult to improve the vision in this eye after the brain is completely developed. The eye is then said to be amblyopia or lazy.

Common causes of Amblyopia (Lazy eye)

  • Shortsightedness, long-sightedness or astigmatism
  • Large differences in refractive power between the two eyes
  • Strabismus (squint)

Obstruction of vision by droopy eyelid, cataract or other lesions

Early Detection

Successful treatment depends on how severe the amblyopia is and the age of the child when treatment is begun. If the problem is detected early, successful treatment time is shorter. If it is detected after the age of four, the success rate would be very low.

Since the child is usually too young to complain of poor vision, this detection requires early checking of the vision by the family doctor, pediatrician or ophthalmologist before three years of age.

Treatment

To correct amblyopia, the child must be forced to use the lazy eye. This is usually done by patching or covering the good eye often for weeks or months. If the child also requires spectacles, he must wear it all the time.

The basis of patching is to allow the amblyopia eye to be used more often than the other eye so that it gets a chance to develop normal vision. The recovery of vision is better if patching is done at a very early age, preferably before 4 years old.

Patching

When first applying the child’s patch, you may like to explain the reason to the child, or demonstrate on a doll. If the child is schooling, explain the treatment to the teacher so that she will encourage the child to perform his/ her usual tasks with the patch on. She can also discourage classmates from teasing.

Treatment may take weeks to years. The younger the age of treatment is started, the faster the recovery. The vision sometimes worsens after recovery so the child must be reviewed regularly.

Problems that may arise

1 Sore Skin

  • Leave patch off at night
  • Change size or shape of patch

2 If the child wants to remove the patch

  • Use mittens or socks on the hands of young children so that they cannot peel the patch off
  • Use empty paper towel roll over hands and elbows so that they cannot bend their arms to peel the patch off

3 Older children refusing to wear the patch to school

Wear at other times, but overall treatment time would be prolonged.

Know More ‘The Final step’

Information given above provides only a preliminary introduction to Amblyopia. Finding out more about it is the next step towards visual independence. This is accomplished by calling Dr. Hardia Hospital for a consultation with doctor.