Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is a type of poor vision that usually affects one eye but is less common in both eyes. It develops due to a breakdown in how the brain and eyes work, and the brain suppresses or ignores input from one eye. Eventually, the brain relies more on the stronger eye causing poor vision in the weaker eye to worsen. Amblyopia generally develops from birth to age seven and is the most common cause of vision loss in kids. The good news is that early diagnosis and treatment of Beverly Hills, CA lazy eye can help prevent long-term problems with your child’s vision.
Symptoms of amblyopia
It may be hard to notice the symptoms of this vision problem. Kids with the lazy eye may have poor depth perception or trouble telling how near or far something is. Parents may also notice the following in their child:
- Head tilting
- An eye that wanders in and out
- Eyes that appear not to work together
- Abnormal results of vision screening tests
Sometimes an eye exam is necessary to diagnose lazy eyes as amblyopia.
What causes amblyopia?
In many cases, doctors don’t know the exact cause of amblyopia. Normally, the brain uses nerve signals from both eyes. But if the vision in one eye is poor due to an eye condition, the brain may try to work around it. It turns off signals from the weaker eye and relies on the stronger one. The weaker eye receives fewer visual signals, and the eyes’ ability to work together decreases.
Abnormal visual experiences early in life that alter the nerve pathways of the retina and the brain may cause the development of a lazy eye. Anything that blurs a child’s vision or causes the eyes to turn out or cross can cause a lazy eye. Common causes include.
- Muscle imbalance. Most cases of lazy eye result from an imbalance in the muscles that position the eyes. The imbalance can cause the eyes to turn out or cross in, preventing them from working together.
- Deprivation. A problem with one eye, including a cloudy area in the lens (cataract) – can prohibit clear vision. Deprivation amblyopia (the most severe type of amblyopia) in infancy requires prompt treatment to prevent permanent vision loss.
Sometimes this type of poor vision can result from a different vision problem.
Below are eye conditions that can lead to amblyopia.
- Refractive errors. These include vision problems like farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. Normally these problems are easy to fix with glasses or contacts, but if left untreated, the brains rely more on the eye with stronger vision.
- Strabismus. Usually, the eyes move together as a pair, but in kids with this problem, the eyes don’t line up. One eye might drift up, down, in, or out.
Risk factors of amblyopia
Children can be born with amblyopia, while others develop it later in childhood. The chances of having lazy eye are higher in kids who:
- Were born premature
- Were smaller than average at birth
- Have developmental disabilities.
- Have a family history of eye conditions like amblyopia and cataracts
If you notice any signs of lazy eye in your child, visit your specialist at Beverly Hills Optometry: Advanced Dry Eye Center for early treatment to prevent vision loss.