Amblyopia Lazy Eyes Navi Mumbai
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem and is not correctable with lenses. Although there is no date regarding the prevalance of lazy eyes in Navi mumbai, studies done elsewhere show that it affects about 3% of the population. The eye is anatomically normal, but visual acuity is reduced even with glasses. Amblyopia is the commonest cause of vision problems in children, and develops sometime between birth and 8 or 9 years of age, the critical period of time when the visual system develops and matures. Amblyopia causes more visual loss in the age group under 40 than all the injuries and diseases combined.
Babies are born with poor vision and would only just be able to see the largest letter on the vision chart if we could test them as we test adults in an eye clinic. As the brain and eye and their inter-connections mature, vision gradually improves to adult level at around 6 or 7 years of age.
For the eyesight to develop fully, the image should be clearly seen by each eye and both eyes should be looking directly at the object. If either or both do not occur, then the eye will become amblyopic or “lazy”.
In children with a squint, the squinting eye is found to have poor vision – it is ‘lazy’ or amblyopic. This means that the brain is not learning to use the message from this eye and the eye/brain interconnections are not developing normally.
The vision the child has at the age of 7 or 8 years of age is the vision they will keep throughout life. Treatment of lazy after this age is unlikely to be successful. This is why it is so important that children’s eyes are checked soon after birth by the paediatrician, and again before they enter school (at the age of 3 years).
What is the treatment of a lazy eye?
The child is checked for glasses and these are prescribed if necessary. The glasses may not only help the vision but may also fully or partially correct the squint in some types of squint.
If glasses do not improve the vision in the lazy eye, then the treatment for the lazy eye involves patching the good eye or making the good eye blurred with eye drops. The idea is to force the lazy eye to see. This treatment aims to improve the vision in the lazy eye: it will not help the squint. Treating a lazy eye is always done before any squint surgery.
As wearing glasses may affect the size of a squint, children who need glasses must have been wearing them before the doctor can decide about squint surgery.
The doctor may also suggest some medicines to treat lazy eyes if it is not responding to the conventional patching or occlusion therapy. We are one of the few centers that offer pharmacological treatment for treatment of lazy eyes in Navi Mumbai.