What is Amblyopia?
Often referred to as a “lazy eye”, amblyopia refers to an eye that has reduced vision due to different factors that inhibit proper ocular development. This may cause the eye to “wander” since it is out of focus. Amblyopia develops between birth and 7 years of age as this is the time frame of visual development.
What are the Causes?
- High prescription or significant difference in prescription between the two eyes
- Strabismus: muscle imbalance that causes a constant or intermittent eye turn leading to a “dominant” or better seeing eye
- Deprivation: pathology inside of the eye reducing visible light the the retina which can lead to visual impairment
- Examples: Congenital Cataract, Retinoblastoma
What are the Symptoms?
Amblyopia causes blurred vision, typically in one eye. Most patients are asymptomatic since the brain “learns” to adapt to focus out of the better seeing eye. Early intervention can help increase vision potential, especially when glasses are prescribed between ages 7-12.
-Reduced depth perception
-Blurred vision out of one or both eyes
How is it Treated?
Prescription glasses are the first line of treatment for Amblyopia to give both eyes equal opportunity to see clearly. Patching the better seeing eye for certain intervals can also help increase vision potential.
In certain cases, Vision Therapy may be recommended when a more thorough treatment regimen is desired.
Prescription eye drops (low dose Atropine) are another proven treatment method if patching is not an option, or if consistency of therapy routine is questionable. Atropine is used in Amblyopia therapy to “blur” the better seeing eye by reducing the eye’s ability to adjust its focus. This forces the worse seeing eye to “take over” and gain better acuity.