Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What is a lazy eye?

       Have you ever realized that a person’s one eye is pointed somewhere else rather than where they are actually looking?  This is because they have what is called amblyopia or better know as a lazy eye.  It is mostly found during childhood when their eyesight in one eye does not develop as quickly as the other one.  Most of the time it is only found in one eye, but there are rare cases where both eyes could be considered lazy.  The lack of development is due to the brain not focusing on one eye as much as it does the other.  If this ignore eye is not stimulated correctly the visual brain cells do not develop, as they should. 

            Symptoms of lazy eye include not being able to focus properly with one of their eyes, blurred vision, double vision, poor depth perception, eyes do not appear to be working together, and excessive squinting either upwards, downwards, outwards, or inwards.  Lazy eyes can be diagnosed by getting a routine eye examination. 

            The causes of amblyopia are anything that causes a child’s eye to cross or turn outward will provoke a lazy eye.  One of the major causes of this are an imbalance in the muscles that position the eye.  This will cause the eye to cross or turn out and takes away the two eye’s ability to track objects together, and move together.  Another main cause is anisometropic amblyopia, which is a refractive error due to short sightedness and long-sightedness, or an uneven surface of the lens.  A refractive error means that light changes direction after passing the lens differently in each eye.  Lastly, amblyopia could be caused by stimulus depravation amblyopia in which one or both of the eyes are prevented from seeing and ultimately becomes lazy.  These preventions of vision could be due to:  a corneal ulcer, scar, congenital cataract, droopy eyelid, glaucoma, eye injury, and eye surgery. 

       Treatment first needs to address the underlying eye problem.  Glasses or surgery can either fix these problems.  To get the lazy eye to work an eye patch is placed over the good eye so that the lazy eye has to work in order for them to see.  Atropine eye drops can be used to make the healthy eye to have blurred vision.  The eye drops work just as the patch would but allow the children to not have to wear the patch.  Vision exercises or vision games can be used to help improve vision development in the affected eye, and can be done in addition to the eye drops or patch. 

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