Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) – Symptoms and Causes
Amblyopia (also called lazy eye) is when only one eye has poor vision. It happens when the brain and the eye don’t operate together correctly, and the brain can’t recognize sight from one eye. The brain becomes increasingly reliant on the other, stronger eye over time, while vision in the weaker eye worsens.
Because the stronger eye works better, it’s dubbed the “lazy eye.” On the other hand, people with amblyopia are not lazy and have no control over how their eyes work.
Amblyopia is the most prevalent cause of visual loss in children and begins in childhood. It affects up to three out of every hundred children. The good news is that early therapy is effective and can often prevent long-term vision problems.
Early treatment can help your child avoid long-term visual problems. Glasses, contact lenses, or patching therapy may typically correct the eyesight of the eye with poor vision.
What Are The Symptoms Of Amblyopia?
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of the lazy eye:
- An eye that wanders inside or outward
- Eyes that don’t seem to work together
- Poor depth perception
- Squinting or shutting an eye
- Head tilting
- Abnormal vision screening test results
Without an eye exam, a lazy eye may not be visible.
When Should You See A Doctor?
If your child’s eye wanders after the first few weeks of life, take them to the doctor. A vision check is crucial if you have a family history of crossed eyes, childhood cataracts, or other eye disorders.
Between the ages of 3 and 5, all children should have a complete eye checkup.
What Causes Amblyopia?
A lazy eye can be caused by anything that obstructs vision in either eye throughout a child’s growth. Although the causes for this are unknown, the brain suppresses images from the afflicted eye.
Some possible causes are listed below.
Strabismus can be inherited or caused by nearsightedness, a viral infection, or an injury. The muscles that position the eyes are out of equilibrium, causing the eyes to cross or turn out. Because of the muscle imbalance, it’s difficult for both eyes to track objects simultaneously.
When light does not focus appropriately as it travels through the eye’s lens, it is called a refractive error. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are conditions in which the surface of the cornea or lens is uneven, resulting in blurred vision.
When a child has anisometropic amblyopia, one eye is farsighted or nearsighted, causing amblyopia to develop in the affected eye.
Stimulus deprivation amblyopia
This is the rarest type of amblyopia. One eye becomes weaker as it is unable to see. Both can be affected at times.
This could be a result of:
- A corneal ulcer, a scar, or an eye illness could be to blame.
- ptosis, or droopy eyelids, a congenital cataract in which a baby is born with clouding of the lens
- injury to the eye
- surgery to the eye
Factors that are at risk
The following factors have been linked to an increased incidence of the lazy eye:
- Premature birth,
- small birth size,
- and a family history of lazy eye is all
- Disabilities in development
Lazy eyes, if left untreated, can result in permanent visual loss.
Your doctor will perform an eye exam to check for eye health, a wandering eye, a vision disparity between the eyes, or poor vision in both eyes. Eye drops are commonly used to dilate the pupils of the eyes. The eye drops induce blurry vision that can last several hours or even a day.
The method used to test vision is determined by your child’s age and developmental stage:
- Children who are not yet verbal. Cataracts can be detected using a lit magnifying device. Other tests can evaluate an infant’s or toddler’s ability to maintain a fixed focus and follow a moving object.
- Children aged three and up. The child’s vision can be assessed using drawings or letters. To test the other, each eye is covered in turn.
It’s critical to begin treatment for the lazy eye as early as possible in childhood, while the eye’s and brain’s intricate connections are still growing. Although half of the children between the ages of 7 and 17 respond to treatment, the best benefits occur when treatment begins before age 7.
Treatment options are determined by the source of your child’s lazy eye and the extent to which the issue impacts their vision. Your doctor may advise you to:
- Corrective lenses. A lazy eye can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses if the problem is nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
- Patches for the eyes. Your youngster wears an eye patch over the stronger vision eye for two to six hours daily to stimulate the weaker eye. In rare situations, wearing a patch for an extended period might lead to amblyopia in the patched eye. It is, however, frequently reversible.
- There’s a Bangerter filter. This unique filter is applied to the stronger eye’s eyeglass lens. The filter blurs the more muscular look while stimulating the weaker one, similar to an eye patch.
- Eyedrops. Light sensitivity and eye discomfort are two common side effects. A drop of atropine (Isopto Atropine), a medicine, can temporarily obscure vision in the stronger eye. The drops, usually prescribed on weekends or daily, encourage your youngster to utilize the weaker eye and provide an alternative to a patch.
- Surgery. Surgery may be required if your child has droopy eyelids or cataracts that induce deprivation amblyopia. In addition to various lazy eye therapies, your doctor may offer surgical correction to straighten your child’s eyes if they continue to cross or wander apart with the appropriate glasses.
Exercise treatments, such as sketching, problem-solving, and computer games, are available. The efficacy of combining these exercises with other therapy has yet to be proven. New treatments are still being researched.
Most children with lazy eyes improve their vision within weeks to months with proper therapy. The duration of treatment can range from six months to two years.
It’s critical to keep an eye on your child for the recurrence of lazy eye, which can affect up to 25% of children with the condition. If your lazy eye reappears, you’ll need to restart your treatment.
Is It Possible To Correct A Lazy Eye With Lasik?
LASIK is a laser eye surgery that corrects refractive vision disorders and improves vision. LASIK can help fix the lazy eyes, but only when a refractive error differential causes it between the two eyes (refractive amblyopia).
LASIK surgery can make your eyes’ prescriptions more equal, decreasing the problems with one eye working harder.
While LASIK isn’t a cure-all for refractive amblyopia, it can be an essential part of recovery. Other amblyopia therapies that help your brain perceive the enhanced vision in your lazy eye work best in conjunction with LASIK.
Laser eye surgery, on the other hand, is unlikely to help if amblyopia is caused by misaligned/crossed eyes or obscured vision. LASIK cannot be performed on youngsters. Thus it is not a viable option for children with amblyopia.
Is It Possible To Correct A Lazy Eye?
While LASIK can aid in the treatment of refractive amblyopia, it cannot be used to cure other types of dull eyes or youngsters. There are, however, different methods for treating all kinds of amblyopia. These can be helpful on their own or in conjunction with LASIK in some circumstances.
Treatments frequently entail “equalizing” the vision in both eyes so that the brain is forced to use the lazy eye. This may entail using a stronger glasses lens prescription in the lazy eye than in the other eye to improve vision. Other times, this entails obstructing vision in the “good” look with an eyepatch or eye drops, forcing the brain to utilize the lazy eye.
Eye exercises might also help you manage your lazy eye. These usually include a patient focusing for extended amounts of time on small or stationary objects or words, activities that force the brain to work more closely with the eyes.
Dietary changes are also significant because they give vitamins that aid brain and visual function. All of these therapies should only be carried out under the supervision of a physician.
Is It Possible To Correct Lazy Eye In Adults?
Adults can be treated for lazy eye, but it’s far more difficult to correct if it’s not discovered early. Adults are typically slower to help or less effective than children in vision therapy.
Some features of amblyopia, however, can only be cured in adults. For example, LASIK can only be performed on patients above 18 who have had their eyes stabilized for a particular period.
Blindness: If left untreated, the patient’s eyesight in the affected eye may progressively increase. This loss of vision is frequently impossible. Trusted Single-eye visual impairment in young and middle-aged individuals in the United States is caused by various factors. According to the National Eye Institute, lazy eye is the most common cause.
Eye turn: Strabismus, or misalignment of the eyes, can become permanent.
Central vision: The patient’s central vision may not develop correctly if amblyopia is not treated during childhood. Their ability to perform particular duties may be harmed due to the condition.
Tetris Video Game Aids in the Treatment of Lazy Eye
According to new research by scientists at the McGill University Health Centre’s Research Institute, a variation of the popular video game Tetris has been proven beneficial in treating adult amblyopia, popularly known as “lazy eye” (RI-MUHC).
A person with a lazy eye will be unable to focus correctly with one of their eyes, resulting in blurry images in the eye with impaired vision (amblyopia). Amblyopia affects roughly 3% of the population and is one of the most prevalent causes of visual impairment. It happens when the stronger eye suppresses the weaker eye as a result of faulty brain processing.
Patching the stronger eye to make the weaker one work harder is one treatment option for this disease. This type of treatment, however, has only been beneficial in children.
To play the customized version of the puzzle game, information must be given to both eyes, requiring them to work together.
Because of an increase in plasticity in the brain, the amblyopic brain can relearn by making both eyes cooperate.
“The key to improving vision for adults who currently have no other treatment options was to set up conditions that would enable the two eyes to cooperate for the first time in a given task,” said Dr. Robert Hess, Director of Research Department of Ophthalmology at the RI-MUHC and at McGill University.
According to Dr. Hess, the brain has a high plasticity level, suggesting that vision loss that occurs during early visual development can be treated.
Earlier research has revealed that 15 minutes of recurrent transcranial magnetic stimulation can temporarily release such plasticity (rTMS). Patients’ amblyopic eyes improved contrast sensitivity for at least 30 minutes after 15 minutes of rTMS therapy.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, looked at how helpful the game Tetris was at treating amblyopic people.
Dr. Hess, also the director of McGill Vision Research, said, “We were able to display the game using head-mounted video goggles, so one eye could only see the falling things and the other eye could only view the ground plane objects.” We reasoned that forcing the eyes to operate together might enhance vision in the lazy eye.”
Patients were aided in their recovery by playing Tetris.
They tested the effectiveness of this unique kind of treatment on a total of 18 persons with amblyopia. Half of the patients wore a patch over their stronger eye while the other half played the game, each eye seeing a different part of the game.
After only two weeks, patients who played the game with both eyes saw a considerable improvement in their weaker eye’s vision. The monocular patching group also improved moderately, but this improvement grew significantly once they began dichoptic training.
A study conducted at an eye clinic in India found that patients can treat amblyopia by following a regimen that includes playing video games and traditional amblyopia treatment.
Matching games, riddles, and other eye coordination challenges are familiar in amblyopia apps. GamE-blyopia, Amblyopia — Lazy Eye, and Lazy Eye Exercises are among the most popular amblyopia Android and iOS apps.