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Amblyopia

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Amblyopia can occur from birth until the age of around 6 years old.
  • Treatments for amblyopia should be carried out as soon as possible to enable vision to return to normal because if not targeted while the child’s vision is still developing, the condition could lead to a permanent reduction in vision capabilities.
  • Strabismus, Myopia , Hyperopia , Astigmatism, Congenital cataracts and congenital ptosis are all factors that can cause amblyopia.

 

Parents are usually the first to notice an irregularity affecting the vision of their child. They come in many forms, such as Strabismus and a trance-like stare. Amblyopia is another abnormality, which parents should be on the lookout for as it has the potential to affect the vision of your child permanently.

Amblyopia or lazy eyes

This is a condition that can reduce the vision capabilities in one eye of the sufferer, and may even affect both eyes in some cases. It can be caused by numerous vision conditions or eye disorders that hamper the development of the child’s vision, and lead to the brain receiving a reduced quality image from the eyes. Generally, visual development occur from birth until the age of about 6 – 12 years old. If action is prescribed to treat the causes quickly enough, the child’s vision can be returned to normal levels. However, if too much time is allowed to pass, and the child’s vision develops with this condition, it could cause a permanent reduction in that child’s vision.

How to find out if your child is suffering from amblyopia?

In young children, the way they look around, and at objects, as well as how they look at their toys, and grab things should be observed to assess whether or not they are doing these things properly. Can they close one eye, and still see objects around them? Do they try to resist when one eye is closed for them? For older children, they can be asked to read some text, and have the clarity of vision in each eye compared. Additionally, observe carefully for any signs that your child is squinting or going cross-eyed as these are both symptoms that tend to occur in children suffering from amblyopia.

Causes of amblyopia

  1. Strabismus
  2. Refractive error, such as short myopia sightedness, long hyperopia sightedness and astigmatism whereby there is a difference in the characteristics of each eye, or there is a serious disorder affecting both eyes equally
  3. Eye disorders that interfere with vision, such as congenital cataracts, congenital ptosis and corneal abnormality

What should be done if you suspect your child has amblyopia?

It is recommended that an assessment be carried out by an ophthalmologist to identify the causes behind the condition. This is because amblyopia can be cured, and the younger the child is when treated, the more chance there is that their vision can develop fully and correctly.

Treatments

Treatments are prescribed according to the causes of the condition, for instance, for:

  • Strabismus, ophthalmologists will assess visual acuity, and search for amblyopia treatment which may be spectacles or an eye patch to be temporarily placed over the better eye in order to stimulate the development of the weaker eye. Surgery may also be considered when signs are present that the surgical technique would be the most effective solution.
  • Refractive errors are usually treated with spectacles and patching amblyopic eye.
  • An eye disorder, such as congenital cataract congenital ptosis, is usually treated through surgery.

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