Lazy eye or medically known as amblyopia is a condition when the connection between the brain and eyes breaks down. Consequently, the brain is incapable of recognizing sight from one eye and the brain becomes increasingly reliant on the other, stronger eye over time, while vision in the weaker eye deteriorates. Furthermore, your brain will learn to disregard the image from the weaker eye if you do not receive therapy. It’s possible that this will result in long-term visual issues. Lazy eye is mostly common in children, with prevalence rates ranging up to 6.2% globally.
Symptoms of Lazy Eye
There are few symptoms of lazy eye.Firstly, if an eye wanders inward or outward we should consider seeing a doctor. Same applies if eyes do not work together properly or in other words, if they are misaligned. Other symptoms include poor depth perception, head tilting or persistent head turn and squinting or repeated eye closure. A presence of persistent shaking of the eyes and atypical results of vision screening tests can also be symptoms of amblyopia. You can have a look at our blog post discussing detection of early amblyopia signs.
A wide range of factors have an effect on the nerve connections in the brain that are in charge of processing sight function properly. Conditions that can lead to lazy eye are strabismus, genetics, different levels of vision in each of your eyes, damage to one of your eyes from trauma, drooping of one of your eyelids, vitamin A deficiency, corneal ulcer or scar, eye surgery, vision impairment and glaucoma.
When an issue occurs, parents and children often do not recognize the condition. Diagnoses can be made through a regular eye examination, between the ages of 6 and 12 months when children should get his or her first eye checkup. General eye issues are also frequently screened by pediatricians. Generally speaking, an eye exam will be performed by your doctor to check for eye health, a wandering eye, a vision disparity between the eyes, or impaired vision in both eyes. Screening tests include identifying letters or shapes on a chart, following a light with each eye and both of them and eyes check with a magnifying device.
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Treatment of Lazy Eye
Various possibilities are known for treatment of lazy eye. Corrective eyewear (glasses and lenses) may be given if you have amblyopia due to nearsightedness or farsightedness, or if you have astigmatism in one eye. Glasses can also help realign a squint and, in rare situations, even correct amblyopia without the need for additional therapy.
Furthermore, occlusion therapy by using an eye patch is another possible solution. By patching, we are strengthening a weaker eye and consequently improving vision. If a person is wearing glasses, we can simply cover the lens.
An alternative approach includes Atropine eye drops that are applied in healthy eye. Similarly to eye patching, it encourages the weaker eye to use it more as we blur the vision in the good eye. In case of crossed eyes or eyes that are not aligned, surgery of eye muscles is an option.
Last but not least, the treatment option is also performing vision therapy with a combination of anaglyph (red/blue or red/green filter) glasses. In the last decades active lazy eye training methods are gaining ground. Using different exercises, activities and games can improve the lazy eye and train the visual system to develop good vision. Vision therapy is performed through therapeutic games and exercises on your tablet or computer. The use of red and blue lenses allows excellent control over stimulus characteristics. When a red filter is placed over the right eye and a blue filter is placed over the left eye, the right eye sees only red targets and the left eye sees only blue targets, allowing you to see with both eyes at the same time.
Researchers found that treatments that include fun activities have a higher percentage of compliance. As video games are very engaging, a greater compliance is achieved. Therapy programs with a high degree of compliance have relatively large treatment effects.
Although treatment of lazy eye might be more effective in children, adults can also be treated for such eye impairment. For decades, it was believed that amblyopia could only be treated in children under the age of ten. A recent study of the National Eye Institute found that lazy eye may be successfully treated in children as young as 17 years old, and even adults.