What is it?
What exactly is amblyopia?
Amblyopia (amblyopia), widely known as a “lazy eye” (lazy eye), is characterized no doubt, as the most common eye disease of childhood. It is the ocular condition, wherein the function of vision is not developed in the normal way. This dysfunction usually relates to the visual stimulation of one eye, but it is possible to affect the functions of binocular vision.
Vision develops naturally from birth to about the age of 6 years. To develop properly, it needs not only for the organs of the optical system to be structured physiologically (eyes structurally healthy) but for the visual stimuli to make those instruments functional. Essentially, we look with the eyes, but we see with the brain. In other words, the eyes send visual signals to the brain to train the optical centers.
Where the optical signals arriving in the brain are not suitable, then the optical centers are not trained to see clearly and thus the vision remains blurred. If during first years of life the brain is not receiving clear visual images from one eye in order to learn to decipher, analyze, translate them into visual information, then it will never be able later to take on this difficult task. If amblyopia is not discovered in early childhood, unfortunately, it can not be cured.
What are the basic types of amblyopia?
There are 3 basic types of amblyopia:
- Strabismic amblyopia: due to misalignment of the eyes (strabismus – usually the eye squint present condition)
- Deprivation amblyopia: due to deprivation of visual information (e.g. cataract)
- Refractive amblyopia: due to high refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism) or anisometropia (refractive difference in the 2 eyes)
What can cause amblyopia?
- Strabismus: usually the eyes that squints can cause amblyopia
- Anisometropia: difference in refractive power (degrees) in the 2 eyes
- The exclusion of the optical axis of the eye: any condition that prevents the entry of visual stimuli in the eye (eg ptosis, corneal clouding, cataracts) causing amblyopia at younger ages
Depending, always, according to the causes, the severity of amblyopia varies from mild to severe. Most often the diagnosis of amblyopia is performed during a random prophylactic ophthalmologic examination. Therefore, the preventive ophthalmologic testing in preschool ages are deemed imperative.
How do we treat amblyopia?
Amblyopia, if detected and treated early, reconfigures and vision improves dramatically. The most prevalent (certified) therapy is the method of coating the “strong” eye, usually in the case of strabismic amblyopia, the “training” of the other (improvement of the optical system). Treatment should be individualized in each case. Two hours of coverage every day have proven to be enough if and when the amblyopia is not very extended and the patient’s age is between 3 and 7 years. In such a case, continuous monitoring is required by a qualified ophthalmologist to check the effectiveness of the method and prevent the development of amblyopia in the dominant normal eye.
Where the use of glasses is appropriate, then these should be prescribed. It should be noted that the restoration of vision to 10/10 is not always feasible in the treatment of amblyopia. If a child resists the use of special patches overlap, then there are other solutions that the ophthalmologist may suggest the (e.g. atropine drops, covering glass, etc.).