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Microstrabismus and Amblyopia

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Microstrabismus Amblyopia AmblyoPlay Blog
Microstrabismus Amblyopia

Vision plays a vital role in our daily lives, allowing us to perceive the world around us with clarity. Two such conditions that often go hand in hand are microstrabismus and amblyopia. In this blog post, we will explore the connection between these two conditions, their individual characteristics, and the importance of early detection and treatment.

Causes of Amblyopia

Amblyopia is usually caused by one of the following visual abnormalities, anisometropia, visual deprivation, or strabismus. Those were already thoroughly discussed in our previous posts, so follow the links above should you be interested. In the current blog, we will talk about a special form of strabismus referred to as microstrabismus or microtropia and its impact on vision and resulting amblyopia.

What is Microstrabismus?

Microstrabismus is a subtype of strabismus characterized by a small, subtle misalignment of the eyes. Unlike other forms of strabismus where the misalignment is more apparent, microstrabismus is often challenging to detect without a thorough eye examination.

More medically-appropriate, it is defined as the deviation of the eye less than 5° with the accompanied reduced or absent stereovision. Proper strabismus is usually evident with the naked eye and those kids are therefore soon referred to as an ophthalmologist for an evaluation.

In microstrabismus, on the other hand, the eye deviation is usually very hard to spot and the condition often remains undiagnosed for a long time. Hence, it is likely that amblyopia will commence in the ever so slightly deviating eye.

Microstrabismus can result in slight deviation of the eyes.

Another problem that usually arises with amblyopia caused by microstrabismus is the lack of foveal fixation in the deviating eye – eccentric fixation. The image that falls onto the retina of the deviating eye is slightly offset which can make treatment challenging.

Microstrabismus and amblyopia often coexist, with microstrabismus being one of the underlying causes of amblyopia. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain may suppress the visual input from one eye to avoid confusion and maintain binocular vision. As a result, the suppressed eye’s visual acuity decreases, leading to amblyopia.

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The subtle nature of microstrabismus can make its detection challenging, particularly in young children who may not yet possess the communication skills to express their visual discomfort or difficulties. Therefore, regular eye examinations, especially during early childhood, are crucial in identifying and addressing both microstrabismus and amblyopia.

Treatment of Amblyopia Due to Microstrabismus

Treatment of amblyopia induced by microstrabismus addresses several aspects, among which is the restoration of foveal fixation (directly in the fovea), stereovision, and normal visual acuity. These are usually achieved by a combination of patching, special exercises aimed to reduce eccentric fixation, as well as vision training in some instances.

Conclusion

Microstrabismus and amblyopia are interrelated conditions that can have a significant impact on visual development if left untreated. Identifying these conditions early on and seeking appropriate intervention is crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is microstrabismus?

Microstrabismus is a subtype of strabismus characterized by a small, subtle misalignment of the eyes. Unlike other forms of strabismus where the misalignment is more apparent, microstrabismus is often challenging to detect without a thorough eye examination.

How are microstrabismus and amblyopia connected?

Microstrabismus and amblyopia often coexist, with microstrabismus being one of the underlying causes of amblyopia. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain may suppress the visual input from one eye to avoid confusion and maintain binocular vision. As a result, the suppressed eye’s visual acuity decreases, leading to amblyopia.

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Why Do We Suggest a Minimum Time of 6 Months for Success?

Based on the data from over 15,000 patients using AmblyoPlay, improvements start within 4 months, while optimal results take anywhere between 6-18 months on average. The duration of required training depends on the patient’s age, the severity of the problem, accompanying diseases, and adherence to the training program.