Amblyopia is the most common vision problem in children under the age of six, affecting two to three out of every 100 children. In order to see properly, the brain and the eye must work together. As light enters the eye, nerve signals traveling along the optic nerve send visual images to the brain. Amblyopia, or “Lazy Eye” as it is often called, is the condition where vision in one eye is reduced because the signals to the eye and the brain do not synchronize properly. The amblyopic eye has the capability to see; however, the brain favors the healthier eye. Untreated, amblyopia can lead to vision impairment in adults.
What causes Amblyopia?
Amblyopia can be caused when one eye is more nearsighted, farsighted or has more astigmatism than the other eye. Strabismus, an imbalance in the position of the two eyes, can also cause amblyopia.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of amblyopia include squinting, blurred vision, closing one eye to see, favoring one eye over the other and a tendency to bump into things. Frequent headaches due to eyestrain are also a sign.
How is Amblyopia diagnosed?
During the first nine months of life, the visual system develops very rapidly. Your eye care professional can determine if amblyopia is present during an eye examination. Treatment of amblyopia is most effective before the age of seven, making early diagnosis important.
What are the treatment options?
Treatment options include prescription eyewear, Atropine drops to temporarily blur the stronger eye stimulating vision in the weaker eye, and patching the eye.