Lazy Eye (Amblyopia): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Lazy eye or amblyopia is a condition of decreased vision in one eye due to the development of abnormal vision in infancy or in children. Lazy eyes in children will make the child’s brain only translates sight from good eyes and ignores eyesight from bad eyes (lazy eyes).

What Are Lazy Eyes?

When entering the age of 4 years, normally the development of the brain that processes vision is almost complete. If the brain does not receive clear shadows from one or both eyes, then the ability to see will be difficult to achieve when brain development is complete. This condition is then the cause of lazy eyes.

In general, this eye disorder only occurs in one eye, but sometimes it can also occur in both eyes. In addition, lazy eyes are the most common cause of decreased vision in children and are common from birth to 7 years of age.

Although it is often associated with squinting, it’s important to know that lazy eye is a different condition from squinting. However, squinting eyes can trigger lazy eyes or amblyopia, if squinting eyes are rarely used compared to healthy eyes.

Causes of Lazy Eyes

When nerve connections from one eye to the brain are not formed properly during childhood, lazy eyes can occur. Eyes with poor vision can send false visual signals to the brain. A weaker eye automatically gets a lower flash signal.

The following are some of the possible causes of lazy eyes, including:

1. Strabismus or squint eyes

The first cause of lazy eye is squint. This is a condition of imbalance in the muscles that causes the eyes to cross or change. Muscle imbalances make it difficult for both eyes to track objects together. In general, this eye disorder occurs due to genetic factors.

2. Refractive anisometropia

The difference in vision between the right and left eye or known as refractive anisometropia can cause lazy eyes. Contact lenses or glasses can be used to overcome this. In some cases, lazy eye is also caused by a combination of refractive abnormalities and squinting eyes.

3. Injuries to the cornea of ​​the eye

Wounds on the transparent layer on the front of the eye or called corneal ulcers can cause disruption of vision and cause lazy eye to occur.

4. Cataracts

Cataracts can occur due to calcification of the lens of the eye, so that vision will be disrupted. If cataracts only occur in one eye, lazy eyes in children can occur.

5. Refractive disorders

This condition can occur due to differences in refraction in the two eyes, so eyes that have clearer vision will be more dominant to see. Some examples of refractive disorders are astigmatism, farsightedness, and farsightedness.

Lazy Eye Symptoms

A child with lazy eyes or amblyopia will not be able to focus properly with one eye. In many cases, a stronger brain and eyes cover the deficiencies so well that children don’t realize they have a problem. That is why lazy eyes are often not detected until the child has an eye test.

The following are some of the symptoms of lazy eye that you can recognize, including:

  • Double vision.
  • The eyes do not appear to work together
  • One eye often moves outward or inward.
  • Trouble estimating distance.
  • One eye looks more narrow than the other eye.
  • Tilt your head often to see objects more clearly.
  • Wincing often.

It is very important to have your eyes checked early if there is a family history of crossed eyes, cataracts, or other eye conditions. Parents who see the child’s eyes unfocused after a few weeks of age should immediately tell the doctor.

Diagnosis of Lazy Eyes

Impaired vision can be permanent, because when a child’s brain grows into adulthood, then the brain will get used to ‘ignoring’ images from poor vision. That is why it is very important to have an eye condition after the child is born.

In addition, the success or failure of a therapy also depends on the early diagnosis that is made, because after the age of 8 years, vision problems have the potential to persist. Conversely, if the child does not experience lazy eyes until the age of 8 years, you are less likely to experience this.

Simple steps can be done by parents to ensure whether the child has lazy eyes or not is to close one eye in turn. If healthy eyes are closed, generally the child will complain. Meanwhile, if the lazy eyes are closed, usually the child does not complain.

Meanwhile, the diagnosis made by a doctor is to do a refraction test. This test is done to see whether the use of glasses can improve vision. If after the use of vision glasses have not improved, the doctor can examine other conditions that cause vision problems, such as retinal problems, cataracts or corneal scars.

In addition to the above checks, the doctor will also examine three aspects of eye health, including:

  • Smooth paths of light in the eyeball.
  • Both eyes see equally well.
  • The eyes move normally and in harmony with each other.

Another important thing that should not be missed is doing an eye examination at the age of 6 months, 3 years and every 2 years when entering school. In addition, family history of having lazy eyes is also a risk factor that enhances this condition. Early diagnosis and treatment are the key to good vision.

Lazy Eye Treatment

The most common amblyopia treatment is forcing the brain to start using bad eyes. This is done by first correcting the underlying problem of the eye and then placing a barrier on the eye either – called a patch or eye patch. Initially, children will have difficulty seeing only with weak eyes.

The use of this eye patch can take several weeks to several months to improve vision. Lazy eye can heal if a person continues to practice using the bad eye parts.

After the doctor determines that vision is back to normal, how to train lazy eyes using patches is no longer needed. Some children may still lose vision and need to go through the patching phase again.

Here are other amblyopia treatments that can be done, including:

1. Eye drops

In the case of lazy eyes or mild amblyopia, your doctor may recommend using eye drops called atropine in good eyes. Atropine will dilate the pupils and obscure vision for good eyes, thus forcing the bad eyes to ‘see’.

2. Glasses

Most children with lazy eyes or amblyopia need glasses to help focus. Even so, there are some children who are reluctant to use special glasses lazy eyes. The role of parents is needed so that children still want to use it, so that amblyopia treatment can provide good results.

3. Operation

If there is something like a cataract blocking the light from entering the eye, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the blockage. Meanwhile, if squinting prevents the eyes from moving together properly, your doctor may recommend surgery on the eye muscles. The doctor will discuss with you whether the most appropriate treatment for your child.

In the end, if a fundamental problem is found and lazy eye can be detected and treated early, lazy eye can recover. Amblyopia becomes much more difficult to treat if a child is 7-9 years old. Therefore, parents are advised to check the eye health of children from an early age.

Follow the doctor’s instructions carefully and follow the control schedule to the eye doctor to be monitored during treatment.

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