The Symptoms and Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

By Jeffrey Schultz on January 09, 2014

The Symptoms and Causes of Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)There are many different eye conditions that people can suffer from, some of which are easier to notice or detect than others. This is why it's important to visit an optometrist for regular exams. By getting your eyes checked, you'll be able to have vision issues and other matters that may affect your eye health addressed in a timely manner.

Right now, we would like to consider an eye condition called amblyopia. You may not have heard the medical term before, but it's colloquially referred to as lazy eye. This kind of lazy eye differs in some important ways from strabismus, however, which is a topic we've previously blogged about. Let's look into this issue right now.

About Amblyopia

Amblyopia is a kind of lazy eye that affects the central vision of a single eye, making it difficult to see objects clearly in that eye. In many cases, the vision of the other eye tends to be unaffected and far better than the vision in the lazy eye. It is estimated that between 1% to 5% of the population suffers from amblyopia.

Common Causes of Amblyopia

The most common cause of amblyopia has to do with the optic nerve. When the pathways between the eye and the brain aren't properly stimulated, the brain will begin to favor one eye over the other eye. This causes the eye that is not favored to become weaker, resulting in poor vision in that eye.

Technically there are three kinds of amblyopia:

  • Strabismus amblyopia, which is caused by strabismus
  • Refractive amblyopia, which is caused by major refractive error in one eye or both eyes
  • Deprivational amblyopia, which is most often caused by congenital cataracts

Signs and Symptoms of Amblyopia

The most common signs and symptoms of amblyopia include the clear favoring of one eye over the other and a tendency to bump into objects or not notice objects on one side. Since these kinds of things may be hard to notice, amblyopia is most often caught by eye care specialists during an exam.

When do signs and symptoms tend to show up?

In most cases, amblyopia will develop in patients before they turn 6 years old, so make sure that your children visit their doctor regularly and receive regular eye exams. The sooner this issue can be addressed, the better for a patient's eye health and vision quality in the long run.

Treatment Options for Amblyopia

There most common treatments considered for amblyopia are as follows:

  • Corrective Lenses: Corrective lenses will help improve the vision in the weaker eye, though this alone is not always the ideal option. It is usually part of a treatment that also involve patches and/or medication.
  • Eye Patches: For young patients, sometimes they will be asked to wear an eye patch on the strong eye. This helps train the weaker eye and improve overall vision.
  • Eye Medication: Similar in principle to the eye patch, patients may be prescribed eye medication that partially weakens the vision of the dominant eye, allowing the weaker eye to compensate and strengthen itself.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatment

If you would like to learn more about amblyopia and your many other options out there for enhancing your vision, be sure to contact our eye care center serving Cleveland today. The entire team here looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve the very best with regard to your health and overall wellness.

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