Amblyopia or “lazy” eye, as it is more commonly known is the case when one eye of a child sees less than the other without any obvious anatomical or functional problem. As a result, the problematic eye sends an image to the brain that is blurrier than the one sent by the normal eye. When the two images from the eyes are very different from each other, the brain cannot process and merge them into a clear, enhanced and 3D image.
As these two original images are very different from each other, the brain learns to "ignore" (“forget”) the information coming from the eye with the lowest vision to avoid confusion. This causes the eye to become lazy!
Another type of “lazy eye “called strabismus amblyopia is when the weak (or "lazy") eye twists inward or outward (nasal or temporal respectively). Cases that will affect both eyes are rare.
In short, amblyopia is characterized as an immaturity of the child's visual system!
It is very important to emphasize here that the critical age to diagnose and treat amblyopia or "lazy eye", which is the leading cause of decreased vision in children, is the age of EIGHT (8) YEARS!
Any diagnosis - treatment over the age EIGHT (8) YEARS, CANNOT improve this immaturity of the visual system.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent long-term vision problems in children. The eye with the lowest vision can usually be corrected with glasses or contact lenses or with patching of the "strong" eye. If amblyopia is not diagnosed and treated early, it can lead to permanent vision loss.
Most of the times the “lazy eye” does not show any obvious pathology,
Symptoms of amblyopia may include:
Sometimes the amblyopic ("lazy") eye is not perceived without an ophthalmological examination as the other normal eye meets our daily needs.
Lazy eye or Amblyopia is therefore an immaturity of the visual maturity of one eye which develops due to abnormal visual development at the beginning of life. This abnormality usually affects the neural pathways between the retina and the brain. When one eye is weaker than the other then it receives fewer visual signals. In this case, the visual stimuli that reach the brain are not appropriate and the visual centers are not trained to see correctly and clearly, so the vision is blurred and over time it cannot mature. Eventually, the ability of the eyes to work together decreases and the brain suppresses or ignores visual information from the weak eye.
Anything that blurs a child's vision or makes their eyes crooked can lead to amblyopia. Common causes of the disease include:
Factors associated with an increased risk of amblyopia include:
The ophthalmologist will perform an ophthalmological examination, checking the general health of the eyes, will check for possible strabismus, for differences in vision between the two eyes or for reduced vision in both eyes. He may also use special drops to enlarge the pupils of the eyes (mydriasis), which cause blurred vision that lasts for several hours.
In general, the method used to control vision depends on the age and stage of the child's development:
It is important to start treatment for amblyopia as soon as possible in childhood, when the complex connections between the eye and the brain are formed. The best results are obtained when treatment is started before the age of 6 years.
Treatment options depend on the cause of the amblyopia and how much its vision is affected by this condition. The ophthalmologist may recommend:
Activity-based therapies - such as painting or puzzles - have also been proposed but their effectiveness has not yet been fully established as research on new therapies continues.
In most children with amblyopia, proper treatment improves vision within weeks to months and treatment can last from six months to two-three years.
It is important that your child is monitored for recurrence of amblyopia (it can occur in up to 25% of children under treatment). If amblyopia returns, then treatment should be resumed.
The Emmetropia Eye Clinic is the first private refractive center to obtain ISO:9001 quality certification, thus ensuring the continuous quality of our health services. At Emmetropia, we are investing in new technology to ensure that all measurements, examinations, and finally treatments are performed accurately.
Our medical staff will inform you and advise you in detail on the best possible solution.
In our center there is a special section of glasses that in case of amblyopia includes the state-of-the-art electronic frames of Amblyz™ with electronic shutter in order to avoid patching and make it easier for our young patients to receive continuous treatment.
The state-of-the-art technology available at our center also gives us the opportunity to perform refractive and other surgeries that are needed in case of amblyopia.