Saturday, December 10

Lazy eye, what is it and how is it corrected?


Amblyopia, the medical term for lazy eye, is when vision in one (or both) eyes does not develop properly during childhood. This decreased vision occurs when the visual part of the brain does not develop as it should.

This problem mainly affects babies and children, which is when the brain learns to “see” or interpret images from the eyes, and if not treated early, it can also affect adults.

According to the Spanish Society of Pediatric Strabology and Ophthalmology, amblyopia affects 5% of the population, and causes vision deficit to fall below the limits considered normal. When a child has amblyopia, the lazy eye transmits a bad image and does not see 100%.

Why is vision lost in one eye?

Under normal conditions, the brain receives images from each of the eyes and combines them, which allows for a single, clear vision. But when the brain cells that are responsible for the vision of one of the eyes do not develop and the images that the brain receives are different, it does not pay attention to the less clear image and favors the development of the vision of the other eye.

Consequently, the lazy eye will progressively lose vision because it does not evolve as it should. Therefore, vision loss occurs because the nerve pathways between the brain and the lazy eye are not properly stimulated.

What are the symptoms of lazy eye

Although the symptoms of amblyopia can be difficult to notice in some cases (problems seeing near or far), there are some that are more evident:

Some signs that indicate that there may be a problem are the difficulty to adequately identify objects at long distances (having poor depth perception), the excessive approach of objects to the face or the deviation of the eye.

In other cases, symptoms such as eye pain, tearing, itchy eyes, dizziness or headache may appear. In some cases it may happen that, having the vision of the other eye, the child can perform almost all normal daily tasks. Hence, experts emphasize the importance of performing routine check-ups already in the first year of life.

What are the causes of lazy eye

It may be that the baby is already born with amblyopia or that the problem develops later in childhood. Some of the factors that increase the risk of suffering from this condition are usually having a family history with the same problem, childhood cataracts, premature birth or developmental disability.

But there are other causes:

Can the lazy eye be trained?

As the General Council of Colleges of Opticians-Optometrists (CGCOO) points out, it is important to treat amblyopia at an early age since it has been shown that the brain cells that are responsible for vision that have not been stimulated during development cannot recover when they are already ripe. The consequence is a significant vision deficit.

The most important thing is to establish the cause, which the specialist arrives at after a complete ophthalmological examination, including pupil dilation. Once the cause of the problem is detected, therefore, the goal is to act quickly to restore clear vision at any distance.

Training the eye in a specific way allows you to restore, with specific exercises, the visual capacity of the eye. Treatment from occlusion with an eye patch that does work well is common in children.

This forces the brain to use the lazy eye, which, over time and with specific training, will come to enhance the lost binocular abilities. This as long as amblyopia is detected and treated early.

Other treatments include the instillation of drops to dilate the pupil, the use of filters on the glasses to force the use of one eye or the other, or changes in prescription to more or less reinforce the use of the lazy eye.

The use of contact lenses will help to have clear vision, although it may happen that the vision of this eye is not as good as that of the normal eye. The application of one or another treatment must be approved by the specialist.

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