What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is an eye condition that arises due to abnormal development of the vision from a young age. It happens when the brain only learns to see blurred images on the weaker eye causing it to only process inputs from the stronger eye. Consequently, the nerve pathways between the brain and the weaker eye are not properly stimulated, resulting in deterioration of vision that can no longer get corrected with glasses. In some cases, both eyes may be amblyopic. It happens when both eyes are deprived of clear vision for a significant period, the brain no longer “recognizes” what clear vision is.

Amblyopia starts in childhood (<3 years old to 15 years old), when detected early and promptly treated, permanently reduced vision is avoidable. However, if left untreated, amblyopia can cause severe visual impairment in the affected eye, leading to blindness.

Common symptoms of Amblyopia

  • Problems with depth perception (Have trouble gauging distance between objects)
  • Squinting or shutting one eye when focusing
  • Abnormal head posture/ tilt
  • Bumping into things on one side often

What eye conditions may lead to amblyopia?

  • Refractive errors (Long-sightedness, Short-sightedness, and Astigmatism) When the brain gets a blurry image on one eye and a clear image on the other eye, it starts to ignore the blurry one. It resulted in a halt in the visual development of the poorer eye.
  • Strabismus. When the eyes do not line up (one eye turns in/ out), it is hard to fuse images from both eyes into a single image, causing double vision. To avoid seeing double, the brain will shut off the image from the misaligned eye.
  • Cataracts. A cloudy lens inside the eye causes blurry vision, leading the brain to favor the better eye.
  • Ptosis. A droopy eyelid can block your vision. It can lead to the deprivation of clear vision and halt visual development in both eyes.

Why is it important to detect Amblyopia early?

Amblyopia is a preventable cause of Pediatric Low Vision, it is also treatable when detected early with the help of patching or prescription of glasses. When left untreated, their vision will be blurry even with the aid of spectacle, they might even develop strabismus. By doing a regular eye check with your optometrist, they can make sure your child sees clearly in each eye and assess the risk of the possibility of the development of Amblyopia.

Concern about your child’s eye health? Call us at 6244 4420 or 6533 0095 to book an appointment now!

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