This article has been provided by Dr. Huseyin ACAR to give information about ‘Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) and Its Treatment’ in general terms.
HOW IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR VISION SYSTEM ?
A newborn baby does not see the world as adults do. Vision system of a newborn baby develops gradually and it reaches to the level of adult people at the ages of approximately 2 – 3 years. During this process in order for our vision system to develop, quality signals must be transmitted to our brain by means of eyes. In case that quality signals are not transmitted to the visual cortex in our brain for any reason during this period, visual cortex does not develop well and lazy eye disorder occurs.
Image 1: Vision defects may cause amblyopia
WHAT ARE CAUSES OF LAZY EYE ?
We can categorize causes of lazy eye into three groups. First of them is the refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Under normal conditions, our eyes compensate refractive errors up to the certain degrees. In cases of not able to compensate, development of vision system is interrupted and thus lazy eye occurs. The second cause of lazy eye is the cross eye or strabismus. Both of the eyes look to the different directions in the cross eye disorder and consequently different images are transmitted to the visual cortexes. Brain ignores one of the images and laziness occurs at the eye for which brain ignored the transmitted image. As for the third cause of lazy eye is the droopy eyelid or the congenital cataract where light cannot be received in a sufficient levels by eye structure.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE LAZY EYE DISORDER ?
Requirement of vision in children is limited to see only immediate vicinity. Even if there is case of lazy eye disorder, children have enough ability see their immediate vicinity to the extent to satisfy their needs. Consequently it is a little bit hard for the parents to detect their children’s lazy eye disorder stemmed from refractive errors. But as for the lazy eye associated with cross eye and droopy eyelid problems, doctors easily establish lazy eye disorder, if any, as the patients visit doctor to get treatment of these main complaints.
HOW TO TREAT LAZY EYE DISORDER ?
There are two stages in the treatment of lazy eye. The first one is to eliminate the root reason leading to the laziness in eye and then the second stage is to make the lazy eye to exercise. Refractive errors causing the laziness in the eye are usually treated with wearing of eyeglasses and the other diseases causing lazy eye are treated by surgery. After eliminating the main reason causing the laziness in the treatment of lazy eye disorder, the turn comes to the works for exercising of lazy eye in order to increase vision level of the eye. Traditional method for exercising of the lazy eye is to occlude the other eye seeing well. Aim of occluding the well sighted eye in the treatment is to stimulate the less sighted eye for making exercises. Main factor in the success of the treatment is age. For this reason, the earlier treatment is administered, the more effective treatment becomes. It is very important get treatment around the age of 3 to 4 year in which communication with children can be obtained in an ideal level. However treatment is also possible up to the ages of 7 to 8 years. Although some researches has been revealed that blocking method of one eye has also been effective treatment after these ages, this probability is only valid for a very small numbers of patients. Duration of blocking treatment depends on the age of the patient and the level of laziness in the eye
Our eyesight has not been completed its development at the moment of birth yet. Particularly the first 6 to 7 years of the life is very crucial period in terms of development of our vision system. Our eyes are required to transmit quality signals to the visual cortexes in order for our visual cortexes to reach maximum level of their capacities. If our eyes cannot perform their functions because of certain reasons, then development of visual centers in our brain is interrupted and thus laziness in the eye occurs. Lazy eye disorder is not easily detected by the parents. Thus whether they have any complaint for their eyes or not, all children in the ages of 3 and 4 are absolutely required to visit an ophthalmologist.