LAZY EYE (Amblyopia)

Lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, is a childhood condition that occurs when the vision in an eye does not develop properly . Older children may complain that they can’t see as well through one eye. In some cases you may notice that one eye looks different to the other.

Younger children are often unaware that they have a problem with their vision. The only noticeable symptoms of a lazy eye may be related to an underlying condition, such as:

  • a squint – the weaker eye may look upward, downward, inward or outward, with the normal eye looking forward
  • childhood cataracts – cloudy patches that develop at the lens of the eye
  • ptosis – where the upper eyelid drops over the eye

DIAGNOSIS

Physical Exam

  • Funduscopy- the doctor will look into the eye of the patient through a hand-held ophthalmoscope
  • test for ability to fixate their gaze and follow a moving object
  • visual acuity testing- patient will be asked to read a series of letters with varying sizes

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

The younger the child is when a lazy eye is diagnosed, the more successful treatment is likely to be. If treatment is started after the age of eight, it is unlikely to be as successful.

  • Glasses- Used to correct far-sightedness or near-sightedness and astigmatism. Glasses may also help to straighten a squint, and in some cases can fix the lazy eye without the need for further treatment.
  • Surgery- Removal of the cataract to make room for the normal visual development of the child.In some cases, surgery is used to improve squint. The operation will either strengthen or weaken the eye muscles of the lazy eye to change its position. Ptosis can also be corrected using surgery.
  • Occlusion-The good eye is covered with a patch, forcing the lazy eye to work.
  • Eyedrops- Atropine eyedrops can be used to blur the vision in the good eye. They blur near vision of the good eye by dilating the pupil, which encourages the use of the lazy eye.

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