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When your child has amblyopia

When your child has amblyopia

What is amblyopia?

amblyopia is commonly known as ‘lazy eye’. It describes a decrease in vision. This decrease in vision can be in one or both eyes however usually seen in one eye.

What causes amblyopia?

Amblyopia results from conditions that cause a blur in the image that the child sees. This blured image slows down visual development in that eye and thus the vision of that eye is poor even though on examination the eye appears completely normal.

These are the conditions that can cause amblyopia
Strabismus
Different refractive errors ( glass power) in the two eyes
Cataract (clouding of the lens)
Severe ptosis (drooping of the lid thus covering the eye)
Premature birth
Heredity (parents with amblyopia or strabismus)
Any disease affecting the eyes at a young age

What age group are at risk?

Usually visual development occurs till the age of about 9 years. Thus children below 9 years of age are the highest risk of developing amblyopia. The younger the child the greater the risk.

What is the treatment of amblyopia?

There are various treatment options available to treat amblyopia. Your child’s eye doctor will explain to you the best option for your child depending on the type of amblyopia your child has.

Eyeglasses
Eyeglasses may be needed to improve your child’s vision by helping the eyes to work together and by making the image that your child sees clear. To be effective the glasses must be worn the entire time while your child is awake.

Patching
Your child may also require patching. This is basically occluding or patching the good eye so that the eye with poor vision is forced to see and thus there is a chance of improvement of vision in that eye.
Eye drops

Sometimes patching may not be suited for your child. In that case your eye doctor may prescribe certain eye drops to be applied in the good eye to blur the vision of that eye so that your child is forced to use the eye with poor vision.

Surgery
Surgery may be needed for condition like cataract or ptosis. These surgeries help to clear the obstruction to light entering the eye. Sometimes amblyopia may be associated with strabismus or misalignment of eyes and may need to be surgically corrected.