October 13 is World Sight Day and we thought of raising the issue of amblyopia, also called lazy eye, on this occasion. Amblyopia is a condition in kids whereby their vision does not develop in a proper way, usually in one of the eyes.
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If left unaddressed, the child's vision in the affected eye will remain blurred and with age, the problem will be almost equivalent to vision impairment. Thus, if you see a child having problem in seeing things, do not hesitate to take him/her to an ophthalmologist. Lazy eye in children can lead to attention deficit disorder or ADD in them.
Amblyopia can be caused by a number of factors, like:
When one eye is blessed with better sighting abilities than the other, it can cause amblyopia. One eye can be farsighted or have astigmatism (when a person's cornea is not symmetrical) while the other doesn't. If this persists, the child's brain prefers the clear image over the blurry one and this causes the affected vision to deteriorate more in the long run.
If one of the eyes turns inward and outward and causes a misalignment, it will find it difficult to focus on an image and it might cause double vision. Again like the previous case, the brain will give less priority to the deviated eye's disrupted vision and it will worsen.
Sometimes, a child's vision can be disrupted by a blockade created by, say for example, a cataract or any other thing. This also can lead to amblyopia or lazy eye.
Amblyopia can also occur if it is there in the family history.
Symptoms Of Amblyopia
If you notice the following symptoms in a kid, then he/she might be having a lazy eye:
· Turning or
tilting head while seeing
· Excessive blinking of eyes
· Squinting or closing one eye while reading or writing
· Poor handwriting
· Poor judgement of depth
· Clumsy movement; often hitting objects while moving
· Disrupted attention
· Poor vision screen tests
How Is Lazy Eye Or Amblyopia Diagnosed?
The children should be ideally tested for amblyopia before they go to school. Three things are mainly examined while diagnosing amblyopia:
· Whether the
child's eyes allow light to go through
· Whether both eyes can see equally well
· Whether the eyes move in a normal manner
If any of these areas have a problem, it is advised to meet an eye specialist. Some eye experts prescribe eye check-up at six months, three years and then after every second year. But if the doctor prescribes a surgery or doesn't sound great about the future of the kids' eyesight, it is always better to seek a second opinion.
The best treatment is to better the brain's coordination with the weak eye. Place a patch on the good eye of the kid. He may look like a pirate and also have problems seeing with the weak one at the beginning. But eventually, the vision will improve as the brain will be forced to take the vision gathered by that eye into confidence.
But it is always important to work closely with the eye doctor during the period. It may take weeks or even months for the lazy eye to act smarter. But the treatment should be done at the earliest. It is difficult to cure amblyopia once the child attains seven years of age.