Even though amblyopia is generally considered a disorder of the paediatric population, we must not forget that, if left untreated, it will continue to impact one’s quality of life throughout their lives. According to studies, 1-3% of adults have certain degree of amblyopia, mostly resulting from untreated or inadequately treated anisometropia or strabismus in their childhood. In some, the degree of amblyopia is negligible and does not importantly interfere with the quality of vision, but in others it can be pronounced to the point of basically having only one functioning eye. And whilst certain therapeutic options (vision training, perceptual learning) for adults do exist, they are nowhere near as effective as in children.
How can adult amblyopia affect individuals’ quality of life?
Cases of minor residual amblyopia usually do not cause significant impact, but this changes dramatically when the degree of adult amblyopia becomes more apparent. Apart from experiencing physical or vision symptoms people will often have to deal with mental impact as well. Studies show that adults with residual amblyopia may experience various symptoms ranging from glare to difficulty concentrating. They sometimes report difficulties in driving, reading, or tasks that require great perception of depth and good visual acuity.
Just as importantly, they are oftentimes extremely worried about the safety and health of their better eye which can lead to anxiety. Sometimes they also deal with guilt if they had not complied with the treatment in their childhood or simply regret the missed opportunity of having been diagnosed and treated when they were still children.
How to prevent adult amblyopia?
Since adult amblyopia is literally just a sequel of improperly or inadequately addressed amblyopia in one’s childhood, properly treated amblyopia in children is all that is needed. Early diagnosis, properly prescribed treatment, and compliance to the prescribed treatment are key in every single child with amblyopia!