What is Amblyopia?

iStock_000005707870SmallYou may never have heard of amblyopia—at least not by that name—but you more than likely know what it is. Amblyopia is commonly known as “lazy eye,” and is the most common cause of sight problems in children.

 Amblyopia gets harder to treat between the ages of seven and nine, which is why early eye exams are so important.

Lazy eye occurs when vision in one eye doesn’t develop correctly. For example, if one eye is nearsighted and the other is not, the brain will constantly have two images to reconcile–a blurry image and a clear image. After a long period of time, the brain will choose to ignore the blurry image, and the nearsighted eye will grow even weaker. Strabismus, a condition in which the eyes do not point in the same direction, is also a leading cause of lazy eye. Basically, any condition that causes one or both eyes to cross, turn out, or blur vision can cause lazy eye. Two less-common causes of lazy eye are an abnormality in the structure of the eye and, in very rare cases, an eye tumor.

If amblyopia is not treated, it could lead to permanent vision loss. Treatment tends to be more effective in younger children, according to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. So how do you spot the signs of lazy eye early enough to treat it successfully?

MORE:  Keeping Your Infant’s Eyes Healthy from Birth }

Luckily, your little one will have had at least five eye exams by the time he or she turns five years old. Special tests are usually not needed to diagnose amblyopia. In the event of an abnormality, your child’s primary care physician will refer you to a specialist. Make sure you are especially vigilant about these eye exams if you have a family history of strabismus or amblyopia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of lazy eye include:

  • eyes that don’t look like they’re working together;
  • poor depth perception; and
  • an eye that turns inward or outward.

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Wondering what to do if you notice that something’s off in between doctor visits? “Be especially careful of watching for the symptoms of lazy eye if your child was born premature or had developmental delays,” says the Mayo Clinic. If you do notice any of these symptoms, call your child’s doctor. Amblyopia gets harder to treat between the ages of seven and nine, which is why early eye exams are so important. Children who receive treatment before the age of five usually recover their vision completely.

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What is Amblyopia?

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3 comments

  1. LIZ says:

    i love to read about all this give me info to care about

  2. mommy nhoj says:

    Scary. Indeed early detection is the key. Hope my baby wont suffer of this.

  3. LIZ says:

    tnx so much for thisi hope baby never suffer from eyes,

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