AMBLYOPIA is commonly referred to as "lazy eye". Amblyopia is a term used to denote poor vision in an eye without any discoverable pathologic condition causing it. Sometimes it is called "Amblyopia ex anopsia"or amblyopia from disuse. It has been likened to the phrase "If you don't use it, you lose it". If vision is less than that of the other eye, it may be clinically diagnosed as Amblyopia.It is a condition in which visual acuity is reduced and not completely correctable by refractive methods.
Who can get it?
Many people with amblyopia have a problem with reading. They frequently are slow readers or dislike reading, in spite of a satisfactory I. Q.
Sometimes Strabismus( "crossed eyes") is the basic cause of the amblyopia. Strabismus means that both eyes do not line up together to present a unified image for the individual. In this case, the individual unconciously, blocks out the vision in one eye to prevent a double image (diplopia). As such, the treatment must include an evaluation of the strabismus first, before any help can be expected regarding the amblyopia. When the double vision problem is corrected, perhaps with "prisms" in glasses, there is no longer a reason for the unconcious blocking of the vision in one of the eyes. The result is that the amblyopia spontaneously improves.
What are the symptoms?
Poor vision in one eye; crossing of one eye toward or away from the nose.
What is the treatment?
Treatment for amblyopia frequently consists of patching of the good eye to try to stimulate usage of the affected eye. This is best initiated at the earliest possible age (age 10 or younger). Treatment may still be effective at older ages, however it is generally regarded as much more difficult. Vision Therapy (orthoptics) may be included in the treatment regimen to further stimulate development of vision in the affected eye.
Patching of the affected eye in children under age 4 can be very difficult. They will typically try to remove the patch, not recognizing the long term benefits from any treatment. Creative methods are often times employed to accomplish the treatment. These may range from adhesive type patches that are difficult to remove, to a contact lens that has been blackout out to prevent sight in the good eye.