Monday, August 27, 2018

What Happens When Your Child Has Amblyopia?

Many children suffer from amblyopia, also known as “lazy eyes”. It occurs when the vision in one eye is not developed to its fullest capacity. Left untreated, this condition may affect the vision permanently. As the child adapts to the condition of less vision in one eye, his brain fails to take cognizance of the signals or image coming from that eye. This eventually leads to a complete loss of vision in the eye. Hence, it is imperative to seek the help of an eye specialist once such a condition is detected.

Causes of Amblyopia

Lack of proper vision in one eye is usually the reason behind amblyopia. If the child has a near-perfect vision in one eye, while there is the severe defect of astigmatism, far-sightedness or near-sightedness in the other, then the child is presented with the composite vision of a clear and a blurry vision. So, he would naturally ignore the blurred vision and concentrate on the clear vision from the other eye. With time, this becomes a permanent phenomenon and the vision in the ‘bad eye’ worsens.

‘Strabismus’ is the other cause of amblyopia. Also referred to as ‘lazy eye’, it is a condition where one of the eyes is not properly aligned; it can either be aligned inward or outward. This prevents the eyes to focus on an image properly. So, the vision in the eye that is not properly aligned gets affected. Sometimes, the vision in one eye is impaired when the light does not pass through due to cataract or the formation of blood vesicles in the back of the eye.

Diagnosis of Amblyopia

Children should be investigated for any defects in the vision before joining the school. The defects related to the following conditions –

1)The vision in both the eyes should be well and equal.

2)The passage of light in the eye should not be hampered.

3)The movement of eyeballs should be normal.

4)If there is any defect in the above conditions, the child should be referred to an eye specialist.

The condition of amblyopia cannot always be detected by a layman. It is also related to family history.

Since early detection is an important part of the treatment, it is advised to consult the doctor early.

Treatment of Amblyopia

Making the brain register the image from the detective's eye is the common mode of treatment of amblyopia. This is done in two ways. First, the defective vision in the affected eye is corrected and then a ‘patch’ is put over the other eye. This forces the child to concentrate on the image coming through the ‘bad eye’. 

This gradually improves the vision in that eye. It may be very uncomfortable and difficult for the child but you should make sure he uses the patch regularly. The progressive improvement in the vision should also be constantly monitored by a doctor.

The child will not have to use the ‘patch’ after the vision is back to normal. At times, the condition of the ‘bad eye’ relapses, necessitating the use of the patch again. Sometimes, doctors also recommend the use of an eye drop called ‘atropine’ in lieu of the patch. The eye drop works just like a patch by dilating the pupils.

Using glasses is generally part of the treatment of amblyopia. Surgery is also conducted when there is inadequate movement in the eye- muscles or the passage of light is blocked due to the formation of blood vesicles. The eye specialist decides on the most suitable form of treatments of amblyopia.

Detection of amblyopia early is the key to the success of its treatment. So, it is imperative to detect the condition before the children are five to seven years of age. Following the recommendations of the doctor assiduously is also important.

Children normally hate to wear the patch for long hours. But blocking the vision in the defective eye is a prime part of the treatment. But ever since the doctors have prescribed the use of ‘atropine’ eye drops, the treatment of amblyopia has become easier.



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