Amblyopia or lazy eye is a condition where the children vision are not clear or less focus because of disorders in development of visual function during child growth. The condition have no visible symptoms and usually the children won’t tell about their eye condition.
Amblyopia is the biggest cause of visual acuity declining in children, there are around 1-5% of the entire population got amblyopia. If not detected and treated early, the visual less acuity may become permanent.
The Cause of Amblyopia
Usually the growth of the part of the brain which processing the visual acuity will be complete before the children reach 4 years old. If the visual cortex part of the brain not receiving a clear image during the process it will causing the cortex and the eye having difficulty to improve the sharp vision. The problem will become more difficult to be help after the growing process completed.
Some eye disorders that can lead to amblyopia or lazy eye is as follows.
- Refractive disorders (hyperopia, myopia, & astigmatism) which never corrected earlier. These disorders may be detected if you see children often squinting their eyes or while seeing an object, or need to get close to the screen while watching television.
- A significant difference between the left and the right eye of minus, plus or cylindrical measurement. e.g.. the left eye got minus 2 while the right eye got minus 6, thus the brain will have difficulty in combining 2 imagery sent from the eyes.
- A squint or eye movement disorders such as nystagmus another, nerve paralysis, eye movement disorder syndrome and others
- Barriers to entry of light into the eye (ptosis at birth, congenital cataract, congenital glaucoma, corneal opacities, trauma and others)
To fix amblyopia, if there any refractive disorder, then the children need to wear glasses all day (except during sleep and bath time). In addition of glasses, a patch therapy also needed on the dominant eye, and sometime eye drops will also be per-scripted.
Patch therapy needed to train the amblyopia eyes used more frequent by the eye cortex, so the sharpness of the vision will increasing. Patch therapy usually done by closing the dominant eye for a few hours each days and a routine control by ophthalmologist every three months.
The success of therapy depends on adherence, severity of amblyopia and age at the start of therapy. If the problem is detected early, therapy will be successful and the therapy time is also shorter. If detected after 10 years old, the success rate will be lower.
This therapy may take several months or even several years and is more effective when started at an early age. In general, children have not been able complain about blurred vision, therefore early detection with screening eye exam should be done as early as possible when a child has begun to recognise pictures, numbers or letters, especially in children with a history of eye glasses on their parents.
Ophthalmologists at the JEC paediatric service will be more than happy to help find the cause of amblyopia suffered to be treated optimally and improve the quality of life of your child.