Amblyopia

Amblyopia is often misnamed as “lazy eye”

It is a condition in which one eye does not see as well as the other even though the eye is healthy. It is characterized by poor vision that is not improved to 20/20 ( or 6/6) with glasses. Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the critical period (birth to 6 years of age) can cause Amblyopia.

Listed below are reasons why Amblyopia can develop in childhood:

Misaligned eyes or constant Strabismus

Significant differences between the clearness of the images seen by each eye due to farsightedness, nearsightedness or Astigmatism

An obstruction of vision within one eye due to injury or disease

In the case of strabismus, confusion is experienced as a result of a “crossed eye” so the brain eventually chooses to use only one eye. Consequently, the vision in the misaligned eye fails to develop. In the case of an uncorrected refractive disorder like longsightedness, the eye that is longsighted continuously sends a blurred image to the brain resulting in a lack of vision development. Both of these conditions, if not addressed immediately, may lead to amblyopia.

Ambylopia

In most cases, the “good eye” does not function optimally either. People with amblyopia have essentially healthy eyes but the information coming from one or both eyes are not interpreted well by the brain. Since one eye can see fairly well, the child or parent may not be aware of the problem.

Patients with amblyopia often have trouble with depth perception, are clumsy and have poor sports performance. They cannot see 3D images. Reading can be frustrating for some of these patients, they can tire more easily and often lose their place when reading.

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Treatment for patients with amblyopia is often delayed because parents think the child is doing fine, and there can be no obvious signs such as an eye turn.

In amblyopia, the better seeing eye takes over and actively inhibits the other eye from seeing. The accepted medical treatment is to patch the “good eye” in order to make the “bad eye” stronger and while it sometimes helps with strengthening the amblyopic eye, patching does not promote binocular vision so depth perception is still compromised

Parents often find that getting the kids to wear the patch is extremely difficult and shortly after the patching treatment is finished, the eye returns to poor vision.

We understand amblyopia as the brain’s inability to make sense of both eyes so it “shuts off” one eye. While detection and correction before the age of two is considered to offer the best outcomes, recent scientific research has disproven the long held belief that children over seven years old can not be successfully treated.

Our treatment approach involves teaching the brain to use both eyes at the same time without penalizing one eye. Through guided activities, the brain learns to use both eyes equally with the reward being not only good eyesight but depth perception as well.

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