What is Amblyopia/ Amblyopia Causes
Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is an eye condition that develops in early childhood. It is caused when the images from one eye, and in rare cases both eyes, are ignored by the brain. This poor transmission, if not corrected at a young age, will permanently affect these neurological pathways, resulting in a lifetime of poor vision. Amblyopia in children affects about three out of every one hundred people.
Amblyopia Symptoms Include:
- Poor depth perception
- Low contrast sensitivity
- Reduced sensitivity to motion
- Squinting or closing one eye to see
- Problems seeing three dimensional images
Types of Amblyopia
There are three types of amblyopia: strabismus, refractive discrepancies and form-deprivation and occlusion.
Strabismus Amblyopia (crossed eyes)
This is the most common type of amblyopia. In this case, the eyes are visibly misaligned and do not seem to gaze at the same object. Children will learn to adapt to the poor vision from the misaligned eye, and eventually, the eyesight is permanently ignored by the brain.
Refractive Amblyopia Discrepancies
Refractive amblyopia, or anisometropic amblyopia, occurs when there is a large difference in the refraction of both eyes. One eye will be affected more by nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism than the other. Similarly, the eye with the blurrier vision is neurologically ignored by the brain.
Form-Deprivation and Occlusion
Other eye problems such as trauma, congenital cataracts, corneal scarring, drooping of the upper eyelid (ptosis) or anything resulting in poor image quality can lead to the brain neglecting the affected eye. These conditions usually lead to a visual opaqueness that needs to be corrected.
The type of Amblyopia that a child has will affect his or her treatment. The most common remedies include the use of glasses, atropine eye drops, eye patches, and in some severe cases, amblyopia surgery. Early diagnosis is crucial to prevent amblyopia in adults.